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A Taxing Proposition

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

“Taxes are what we pay for civilized society, including the chance to insure.


A penalty, on the other hand, is intended altogether to prevent the thing punished.”

–– U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., dissenting opinion, “Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas v. Collector of Internal Revenue,” 275 U.S. 87, October term 1927, p100

On that court were Chief Justice William Howard Taft; Associate Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.; Willis Van Devanter; James C. McReynolds; Louis Brandeis; George Sutherland; Pierce Butler; Edward T. Sanford, and; Harlan F. Stone.

Holmes, Brandeis, and Taft are the only names many remember from that group.

Then-POTUS Warren G. Harding, a Republican, nominated Taft, also a Republican, to become Chief Justice (1921–1930) following the death of CJ Edward Douglass White, a Democrat, whom Taft had appointed as CJ in December 1910, while Taft was serving as President (1909–1913). Taft is, to-date, the only individual to have ever served in both positions – President, and SCOTUS Chief Justice.

But, here are a couple interesting facts:

1.) From July 4, 1901 until December 23, 1903, Taft was Governor-General of the Philippines, having been appointed by POTUS William McKinley. Having held that office previously, he should have recused himself from the 1927 case “Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas v. Collector of Internal Revenue.” But, he did not.

2.) Edward Douglass White served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, was a strident segregationist, and upheld racist laws which came before the court, including the notorious Plessy v. Ferguson case which gave rise to the “separate but equal” doctrine, and reinforced racist practices in the United States.

Today, such obvious conflicts of interest would not be tolerated. And I note this with a mark of appreciation: Justice Brett Kavanaugh recently recused himself (did not participate in) from a recent case before the court, because his father held some stock in one company being represented to the court.

Technically, “involvement” at that level exclusively doesn’t violate ethics rules, but having erred on the side of caution – exercised jurisprudential reservation – is commendable. That is because it demonstrates Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s True: The Über-Wealthy Pay ZERO Income Taxes

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Moochers.


We are disclosing the tax details of the richest Americans because we believe the public interest in an informed debate outweighs privacy considerations.

Today, ProPublica is launching the first in a series of stories based on the private tax data of some of our nation’s richest citizens. We obtained the information from an anonymous source who provided us with large amounts of information on the ultrawealthy, everything from the taxes they paid to the income they reported to the profits from their stock trades.

In the coming months, we plan to use this material to explore how the nation’s wealthiest people — roughly the .001% — exploit the structure of our tax code to avoid the tax burdens borne by ordinary citizens.

Many will ask about the ethics of publishing such private data. We are doing so — quite selectively and carefully — because we believe it serves the public interest in fundamental ways, allowing readers to see patterns that were until now hidden.

Tax experts have long understood that the wealthiest Americans reap outsized benefits from the federal tax code’s emphasis on taxing income rather than assets like stock holdings and property. Yet, when The New York Times disclosed in 2020 that President Donald Trump had amassed so many deductions he paid no taxes in 11 of 18 years, it was assumed that his case was an anomaly, reflecting the unique breaks real estate developers receive under our tax system.

It is now clear that there isn’t just one such taxpayer — there are many, in multiple industries. We believe that disclosing the identities of billionaires who paid little to no taxes in years their fortunes grew by billions of dollars will help readers understand the magnitude of the tax advantages the ultrarich enjoy.

https://www.propublica.org/article/why-we-are-publishing-the-tax-secrets-of-the-001


“America’s billionaires avail themselves of
tax-avoidance strategies
beyond the reach
of
ordinary people.
Their wealth derives from the
skyrocketing value of their assets,
like stock and property.
Those gains are not defined
by U.S. laws as taxable income
unless and until the billionaires sell.”

In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.

Typical Americans his age paid more in taxes than they saw in wealth growth over that period.

For every $100 of wealth growth from
2006 to 2018,
typical Americans paid $160 in taxes.

Bezos paid only $1.09.

Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.

ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans of business, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits.

Taken together, it demolishes

The Cornerstone myth of the American tax system:

That everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most.

The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.

Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, amassing little wealth and paying the federal government a percentage of their income that rises if they earn more. In recent years, the median American household earned about $70,000 annually and paid 14% in federal taxes. The highest income tax rate, 37%, kicked in this year, for couples, on earnings above $628,300.

The confidential tax records obtained by ProPublica show that the ultrarich effectively sidestep this system.

American multi-BILLIONAIRES
LEFT to RIGHT, TOP to BOTTOM: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg), Rupert Murdoch (News Corp), Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), Carl Icahn (Icahn Enterprises), George Soros (Soros Fund)

America’s billionaires avail themselves of tax-avoidance strategies beyond the reach of ordinary people. Their wealth derives from the skyrocketing value of their assets, like stock and property. Those gains are not defined by U.S. laws as taxable income unless and until the billionaires sell.

To capture the financial reality of the richest Americans, ProPublica undertook an analysis that has never been done before. We compared how much in taxes the 25 richest Americans paid each year to how much Forbes estimated their wealth grew in that same time period.

We’re going to call that their true tax rate.

The results are stark. According to Forbes, those 25 people saw their net worth rise a collective $401 billion from 2014 to 2018. They paid a total of $13.6 billion in federal income taxes in those five years, the IRS data shows. That’s a staggering sum, but it amounts to a true tax rate of only 3.4%.

It’s a completely different picture for middle-class Americans, for example, wage earners in their early 40s who have amassed a typical amount of wealth for people their age. From 2014 to 2018, such households saw their net worth expand by about $65,000 after taxes on average, mostly due to the rise in value of their homes. But because the vast bulk of their earnings were salaries, their tax bills were almost as much, nearly $62,000, over that five-year period.

No one among the 25 wealthiest avoided as much tax as Buffett, the grandfatherly centibillionaire. That’s perhaps surprising, given his public stance as an advocate of higher taxes for the rich. According to Forbes, his riches rose $24.3 billion between 2014 and 2018. Over those years, the data shows, Buffett reported paying $23.7 million in taxes.

That works out to a true tax rate of 0.1%, or less than 10 cents for every $100 he added to his wealth.

In the coming months, ProPublica will use the IRS data we have obtained to explore in detail how the ultrawealthy avoid taxes, exploit loopholes and escape scrutiny from federal auditors.

Experts have long understood the broad outlines of how little the wealthy are taxed in the United States, and many lay people have long suspected the same thing.

But few specifics about individuals ever emerge in public. Tax information is among the most zealously guarded secrets in the federal government. ProPublica has decided to reveal individual tax information of some of the wealthiest Americans because it is only by seeing specifics that the public can understand the realities of the country’s tax system.

Consider Bezos’ 2007, one of the years he paid zero in federal income taxes. Amazon’s stock more than doubled. Bezos’ fortune leapt $3.8 billion, according to Forbes, whose wealth estimates are widely cited. How did a person enjoying that sort of wealth explosion end up paying no income tax?

In that year, Bezos, who filed his taxes jointly with his then-wife, MacKenzie Scott, reported Read the rest of this entry »

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America Invented Global Narcotraffickers

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, June 4, 2021

Make no mistake, I openly advocate for the wholesale legalization, taxation, and regulation of cannabis similarly as is done for beverage alcohol — though I have not always. And yet, as a licensed healthcare professional, I am under no misguided notion that there are genuine scientific considerations to be had.

Like many others, this is not a simple matter, per se — it is as complex as we human beings, with myriad matters which “Just Say ‘NO!’” has never, nor will ever, satisfy. Science and understanding is not advanced by the word “NO!”

Similarly as well, there is practically no disagreement that historic American jurisprudence on the matter not only had its genesis with deep roots in racism – which remains to this day – but has almost single-handedly created the global criminal cabal of narcotrafficking enterprises that have now become international terrorist organizations. It has now become a matter of national security, and not just for the United States. Global security is predicated upon addressing these concerns.

Jesus Malverde is a mythical figure, allegedly born as Jesús Juárez Mazo on December 24, 1870, just outside Culiacán, the state capital of Sinaloa, whom is said to be the “patron saint” of “narcotraficantes” (drug traffickers), and is known by his devotees as “el ángel de los pobres” (the angel of the poor).
According to legend, he was a lifetime resident of Sinaloa, an historically poverty-stricken area which is now recognized as the de facto headquarters location for a bloodthirsty global narcotrafficking cartel bearing the state’s name, which is infamous for their nefarious misdeeds, cold-blooded murders, and other heinous acts.
The legends, which vary widely, typically assert that Malverde was a “Robinhood” type character, who stole from the wealthy and distributed to the poor. In reality, narco-money has significantly revitalized Sinaloa, and to a large extent, reinforced ancient customs, including the veneration of folk saints as Jesus Malverde.

It is, in fact, fueling the civil sociopolitical upheaval in Central American nations such as Read the rest of this entry »

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Electric Automobiles: Putting The Naysayers To Rest

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 17, 2021

A friend in Alabama, whom is the quintessential example of a Trump supporter – a White, poorly-educated, hard-shell, far right-wing, Christian Baptist Evangelical RINO – recently sent this to me.

I have no idea where he found it – I didn’t ask, and he didn’t say – though I rather suspect that, more likely than not, he found it on Facebook somewhere. (And indeed, that is the case.) So I can’t, and won’t attempt, to vouch for the claims made in the accompanying description, which is, as it’s read, but an oblique, limp, halfhearted, milquetoast denunciation of renewable energy and Electric Vehicles – and a phenomenally poor one, at that.


“This is Read the rest of this entry »

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The “Gig” Economy is A Rigged Economy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 13, 2021

“If I don’t have gas, I don’t work,” said Ronald Ross, 47, a DoorDash driver in Atlanta, as he fueled up his Chevy sedan.

Asked about government requests to avoid hoarding, he said:
“Forget that. It’s first come first serve. People have to look out for themselves. As long as they’re peaceful and all.”

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/panicked-drivers-southeast-us-swarm-pumps-ignore-pleas-stop-hoarding-2021-05-12/


I ordered pizza recently from Little Caesars – they use DoorDash. They don’t have their own delivery driver employees like most other pizza companies do – even small ones. And unlike other standard traditional transactions in which one pays the vendor for their product, in the DoorDash model, you pay them EVERYTHING. The merchant does not bill.

DoorDash charged very handsomely for the service (various “fees” and such), and their total was about $10 – almost ½ the pizza price – most of which ($9) went to them.

There was a space for a tip. I purposely left it blank because Read the rest of this entry »

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What is socialism?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Socialism is when the government controls the means, and the method, of production.

In essence, socialism is a “government factory.”

But let’s examine some things that could be claimed are “socialist.”

Money.

The coinage and currency in your pocket is made by the United States government upon government-owned machines – stamping mills, and presses, with government-owned metals, government-owned paper, and government-owned inks.

But it’s not socialist.

Why not?

Because Read the rest of this entry »

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Telling Tall Tales: Shared Mythology in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, April 25, 2021

Today I happened upon a description of a beer made by Cigar City Brewing of Tampa, FL – Double Barrel-aged Hunahpu’s – which is a 2016 release of an Imperial Stout, aged in rum barrels & apple brandy barrels and blended together.

As rated and ranked by the crowd-sourced beer enthusiast’s website BeerAdvocate, where reviewers rate beers according to various measures of quality, not upon “popularity” based upon sales volume, per se, Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout was graded 100, which is a perfect score, and was ranked 2nd within the category of Imperial Stouts, had a 3rd overall weighted rank, while the website’s contributors gave it an overall rating of 4.78 out of 5 truncated mean for all beers on the site. Its flavor notes read “Stout aged on Peruvian cacao nibs, ancho and pasilla chiles, cinnamon and Madagascar vanilla beans aged in apple brandy and rum barrels before being blended together.”

After having read the review notes, I navigated over to the Cigar City Brewing site to see the brewery’s page for the brew, to see what they said about it, and read that they describe it as being:

“Extremely dark in color with a brown head with notes of big notes of chocolate and espresso, moderate notes of vanilla and cinnamon and mild notes of tobacco and chilis. Flavor opens with a big blast of chocolate and moderate espresso with notes of dark toffee and interjecting notes of vanilla with lingering hints of cinnamon and tobacco and chili notes with a mild Scoville heat in the finish. Extensive aging in both rum and apple brandy barrels adds candied apple, allspice, vanilla and oaky tannic qualities to this rare and complex stout.”

I also found the following about the beer’s curious name:

Did you know?

In Mayan mythology, Hun Hunahpu was the father of the Mayan hero twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque. Hun Hunahpu, along with his brother Vucub Hunahpu, was tricked by the Dark Lords of the underworld and slain. Hun Hunahpu’s corpse morphed into a cacao tree, his head becoming a cacao pod, which in typically awesome mythology fashion, spit upon the hand of a young maiden named Xquic who promptly became pregnant with the hero twins. The twins would ultimately grow up to avenge their father and uncle and defeat the Dark Lords and ascend the heavens to become the moon and sun.

That’s quite a tale, to be certain, and as I read it, the preposterous absurdity of it all was reminiscent of another well-known fairy tale told by observant Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.

Artist’s depiction of the Hebrew exodus

That tall tale is of Moses, regarded as Read the rest of this entry »

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On The Dole: Marjorie Taylor Greene Profits From Low-Income Federal Subsidy Program

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 24, 2021

Is Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Green Pretending?

Cue Eric Clapton’s 1989 hit “Pretending.”

Clay Bennett is a native Alabamian, and Pulitzer prize-winning, long-time political cartoonist for the Chattanooga Times-Free Press.

While Marjorie Taylor Greene has claimed business success credentials as a candidate for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District – while spouting the bizarre lies and not-even-specious rhetoric as part of the QAnon conspiracy – what she has NOT said is that Federal subsidy of low-income housing, and Federal tax credits associated with them, has played a significant role in that “success.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently published an investigative article about Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Republican QAnon conspiracy theory supporter who moved her campaign headquarters from the state’s 6th to the 14th Congressional District exclusively in order to campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives. The Constitution does not require a Member of Congress to reside in the district they represent, only the state.

The 14th CD is located in the state’s uppermost northwest corner, bordering Alabama and Tennessee, a portion of which is considered part of the Chattanooga, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Located slightly north of the state’s capitol city, from 1992-2018, GA’s 6th CD has, until recently, been a largely Republican-dominated suburb of the Atlanta MSA which has produced the likes of Newt Gingrich, Johnny Isakson, and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price.

Georgia’s 14th CD includes Dalton, which has long been known for the numerous carpet and floor covering firms which supply a significant portion of all carpet sold domestically and internationally, and with at least 150 factories, is colloquially known as the “Carpet Capitol of the World.”

It is in that region that Marjorie Taylor Greene projected herself to district 14 voters not as a “carpetbagger,” nor as a “scalawag” – even though she is an opportunist Republican profiteering from Federal poverty programs – but as a business owner/entrepreneur alongside her spouse, Perry.

The term “carpetbagger” refers to:

“a traveler who arrives in a new region with only a satchel (or carpetbag) of possessions, and who attempts to profit from or gain control over his new surroundings, often against the will or consent of the original inhabitants.”

While scalawag refers to:

“White southerners who, for various reasons, saw more of an advantage in backing the policies of Reconstruction than in opposing them.”

And in an ironic video she recently shared with her supporters, she attempted to cast aspersions upon, and belittle fellow Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York’s 14th CD with whom she indicated that she’d spoken, and challenged her to a debate on her “Green New Deal” saying that “she just has a government job” – the same type job Greene has.

2. As a business woman in the construction industry, I’ve spent the last two decades alongside my husband, Perry, building our company and creating in jobs. The politicians in DC and really at all levels of government have let us down.”

The top of her campaign platform was Read the rest of this entry »

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Prediction: South Dakota GOP Governor Kristi Noem Will Report COVID-19 Infection Soon

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, April 22, 2021

Why?

She and Ted Nugent were snuggling together on the same aircraft for several hours while Ted was COVID-19 positive.

The backstory:

The once-and-former rocker, “Jailbait” singer/songwriter, and Motor City Moron Ted Nugent recently announced that he had become infected with the COVID-19 virus.

LEFT to RIGHT: Donna Mosing, spouse of Greg Mosing; Kristi Noem; Ted Nugent, spouse of Shemane Nugent.

However, a week before he made that announcement, Nugent’s wife Shemane posted a photo on Instagram which cross-posted to Twitter, of them standing with South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem and Republican donor Greg Mosing and his wife, Donna, alongside a private jet aircraft. None of them were wearing any type of protective nose/mouth covering.

She wrote: “Thank you for a great trip with Governor Kristi Noem, on Rockstar One (think Air Force One!).”

https://www.instagram.com/p/CNoaOJ3MyFj/

Publicly available data for the aircraft – N131GM – shows that Read the rest of this entry »

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What Is Inflation?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

An inflation is defined as when prices in general go up. Not every price, and not each price the same amount, but a general rise in prices is all that the word “inflation” means. Goods and services, in general, go up in price. Number one.

Number two: Simple. The people who decide on prices are employers – the people who own and operate businesses – ’cause that’s where most goods and services come from. And under a private enterprise system, the individuals who set the prices are the owners, operators, chief executives of corporations. So the first question to understand, first point, is that, if you have a general rise in prices, it’s the business community that’s doing that.

Now, the next question: Why would the business community do it?

Well, the first answer again, is simple – is because it’s profitable. It’s the easiest, quickest, and best way to make more profits – which is to take whatever it is you’re producing, and charge more for each unit of it that you sell. In other words, to raise the price. So in many cases, there’s an inflation because businesses are raising prices to make more profits.

But of course, business Read the rest of this entry »

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New Mexico Passes Adult Recreational Cannabis Use Law

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The State of New Mexico has become the latest state to legalize cannabis for Adult Recreational Use (ARU). There are now 18 states, 1 locality (District of Columbia), and 2 protectorates (Guam, Northern Mariana Islands) that have done so, for a total of 21 governmental entities in the United States jurisdiction which have legalized ARU.

The GRAND TOTAL of people who reside in those areas is: 139,471,628.

The United States Census Bureau estimates U.S. population to be slightly above 330,200,000. That’s around 42.23% of the total estimated population. Guam is an American protectorate, and its residents, and the residents of the Northern Mariana Islands, are American citizens.

Many more states have legalized cannabis for medical use (MMJ), and/or have decriminalized possession to either a civil violation equivalent to a traffic ticket, or as a misdemeanor offense. One state – Oklahoma – has so liberalized their Medical Marijuana program that it is now viewed as a de facto legalization, which has in turn garnered the Sooner State the nickname “Tokelahoma.”

There are only 14 states in which cannabis is not legal for medical use. They are: Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Cannabis or its products in any form is 100% illegal in the territory of American Samoa, while Puerto Rico has a Medical Marijuana law, as does the American Virgin Islands.

It’s very likely only a short matter of time before cannabis is legalized at the Federal level. Read the rest of this entry »

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Meet APC9 – The United States Army’s New Submachine Gun

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 14, 2021

From time to time, military armament is “updated,” which is to say, the DOD requests new stuff to be made, and/or invented for their use. Sometimes, new armament is justified, but not always. This is not one such case.

The M-16, which was originally monikered as the AR-15, has been in use by the United States Armed Forces since the Vietnam era, and when it was “field-tested” in the heat of battle in the jungles of Vietnam, it failed miserably. It was necessary to be kept meticulously and spotlessly clean, because any debris could cause it to fail catastrophically, most often and unfortunately in the heat of battle. In stark contrast, the rugged Russian AK-47 was a weapon that was not only inexpensive to construct, but would operate even after being dropped in the mud and rice paddies of Vietnam and Cambodia. No soldier could honestly say that the American AR-15 was a weapon which they felt secure with, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that it continuously jammed – which is why the firearm has a device called a “forward assist” which

AR-15 forward assist device

“is used to push the rifle’s bolt carrier groups closed. To actuate it, you press the button on the forward assist assembly. This moves the bolt forward and chambers a round. The intended effect is usually to force a round into the chamber if it hangs up for any reason, sort of like the old trick of hitting the slide of a semi-auto pistol with the heel of your hand in the case of a failure to feed.

“The AR-15 forward assist was added to the rifle at the behest of the Army as Eugene Stoner (and the Air Force) actually didn’t believe it was necessary on his original design that became the M16 rifle. Colt created the forward assist assembly, including a pawl (the thing you press) a plunger (which engages with the receiver to send it forward) a spring and a roll pin. To actuate it, you press the pawl, pushing the plunger forward. That engages with teeth on the bolt, pushing it forward.”

Changing battle conditions require changing armaments to meet the need. But here’s an irony: The AK-47 is the world’s most enduring, most rugged, most feared, most deadly, and most popular assault rifle. And, having been designed in 1947, it has been around 10 years longer.



The American subsidiary of Swiss gunmaker B&T has won a multi-million-dollar contract to supply the U.S. Army with a variant of its 9mm APC9 submachine gun. For almost a year, the service has been evaluating a number of proposed weapons as part of an effort to give personal security details added firepower.

The Army quietly announced that it had awarded Read the rest of this entry »

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Good News! Bernie Madoff Is Dead!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Some people make you happy with their arrival, while others bring joy with their departure. So it is with Bernard L. Madoff.

Scumbag Ponzi schemer, thief, liar, chronically habitual pathological prevaricator, con artist, good-for-nothing felonious criminal Bernard Madoff has died aged 82 this morning in Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, a facility in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, according to an anonymous source with direct knowledge of the matter and who was not authorized to speak publicly. The BOP acknowledged Madoff’s death later in the day.

The Associated Press and CNBC reported that Madoff died of apparently “natural causes” while serving a 150 year sentence handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin who sentenced Madoff to the maximum penalty in March 2009 after Madoff plead guilty to all charges against him. In July 2019, financial news network CNBC reported that Madoff had filed application the Department of Justice for commutation of his sentence from then-President Trump, which was summarily denied.

Bernard L. Madoff, USDOJ booking picture 2008

When U.S. District Court Judge Danny Chin sentenced Madoff, he said in part that, “Here, the message must be sent that Mr. Madoff’s crimes were extraordinarily evil and that this kind of irresponsible manipulation of the system is not merely a bloodless financial crime that takes place just on paper, but it is instead … one that takes a staggering human toll.”

At his sentencing, Madoff appeared to attempt to minimize the catastrophic damage he’d inflicted which he had caused, and said that his actions were a “problem,” “an error of judgment” and “a tragic mistake.”

Following his arrest, Bernie Madoff was initially jailed briefly at the infamous Metropolitan Correction Center in Lower Manhattan after pleading guilty to 11 Federal felony criminal charges that carried a combined maximum prison sentence of 150 years, and was sentenced June 16, 2009 for masterminding the largest investment fraud in United States history. At the end of November 2008, his fraudulent firm, Bernard L. Madoff Securities, reported to his victim-clients that their so-called investments with him were valued at a total of $65 billion. However, he held but a very nominal fraction of that amount.

For several decades, Madoff was a considered a Wall $treet golden-haired guru, and even enjoyed a chairmanship of the NASDAQ stock market which he helped establish.

As a self-styled “investment advisor,” Madoff cast himself as a self-made man with a veritable sixth-sense for financial markets that defied their inevitable fluctuations.

The types of people whom he defrauded and bankrupted were as broad-reaching as his scam, and ranged from Florida retirees to celebrities including renown film director Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin Bacon, Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, and included the ruination of various charities and foundations.

Among Madoff’s client-victims were Read the rest of this entry »

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Tennessee’s Republican Legislators Seek To Cut Unemployment Benefits Time

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 9, 2021

Tennessee’s Republican State Legislators Have Lost Their Minds

Republican-written legislation being considered in the Tennessee General Assembly would kick to the curb over 65,000 unemployed Tennesseans who have lost their jobs due to the COVID pandemic.

Republicans are seeking to cut in half the time frame for collecting unemployment benefits.

Richie Townsend, 39, an East Nashville resident and former bartender at Rolf and Daughters in Germantown, has struggled to find work after losing his restaurant job when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020.

In the time since, he’s held various unstable, low-paying jobs from which he, and others, have been fired over three times, due to no fault of his own. During those times, he has applied for, and has been granted access to his State Unemployment Compensation, a type of insurance paid for by employers, and backed by the state government, which all 50 states have.

Fortunately, he has benefits remaining, but only because of the extensions granted by Congress.

He’s recently started a new job in Franklin, but even as the state told him it is expediting his request for benefits, he’s reached out to his state House member but hasn’t gotten any payments on his latest extension.

“It sounds like an over-exaggeration by our local government to try to react to the fact that unemployment was extended for a year and a half in total,” he said.

Though he hates to admit it, Townsend says he’s Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Is Sorry, Stupid, And Lazy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 9, 2021

News reports this morning are stating that in the matter of the unionization vote at the Amazon facility in Bessemer, AL slightly over half of all ballots sent out were returned.

Of the nearly 5800 ballots mailed out to Amazon employees at their Bessemer, Alabama facility, only about 55% were returned.

Only 3,215 ballots were received by the National Labor Relations Board in the election.

There were 5,867 ballots were sent out to Amazon workers in early February – that’s a 54.798% return rate.

At 1025 CST today, unofficial results were that the “NO” votes on the question of unionization were 1,798, while the “YES” votes were 738.

Amazon challenged 505 challenged ballots, and there were 76 voided ballots.

At the conclusion of the tally, an official from the National Labor Relations Board – a Federal governmental entity – said that “Challenges are not sufficient in number to affect the results of this election.”

In January, the NLRB Read the rest of this entry »

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GOPers Are Petty Little Sons Of Bitches

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 3, 2021

Tit for tat.

Just like something a petulant 4-year old child would do.

Soon enough, America will let the GOP know how utterly disgusted they are with their bullshittery.

It’ll be at the ballot box.

Their days are numbered, and the end is in sight. That’s why they’re taking such utterly drastic and unheard-of measures, including writing restrictive laws prohibiting voting… i.e., fixing problems that don’t exist – except that the problems are that they lost because they’re fresh out of ideas, and utterly out-of-touch with the American people.


GOP Senators Push To End Major League Baseball Antitrust Status

by Celine Castronuovo, 04/03/21 08:33 AM EDT
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/546291-gop-senators-push-to-end-mlb-antitrust-status

Republican Senators Mike Lee of Utah, and Ted Cruz of Texas have joined calls to end Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption following the its decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta.

MLB announced Read the rest of this entry »

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Texas Prosecutes Black Woman Who Made An Honest Mistake

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, April 1, 2021

One of the tenets of law is intentionality, which is the foreknowledge of, and intent to willfully disobey, or violate, law, and often includes recklessness as an element of intent. Intent is part and parcel of motive, and in context, often accompanies an evil, or malicious motive. In law, typically, a person cannot be convicted of a crime if there is no intent. Motive, however, is different from intention, and is irrelevant in determining liability.

Sometimes it’s said that “ignorance is no excuse for the law,” but that’s a mere colloquialism which itself has no basis in law. It’s nothing but a hollow saying, for it has no support in any way. There is such as thing as “willful ignorance,” which is an intentional, and therefore deliberate, act. And, the classic Steve Martin comedy sketch in which he presents his defense to a “foul crime” as “I forgot” is funny precisely because there are crimes which are so inherently gross in their violation – rape, murder, armed robbery, arson, etc. – that no reasonable, or sane person could ever assert that they forgot it was illegal.

Negligence is similar, insofar as there is a risk which is assumed by the offending party, which has the potential to harm another person, or property. Negligence occurs when it is likely that harm will occur from the offending party’s conduct, and knowingly engages in the risk. Again, a deliberate action.

Recklessness requires determining that the offending party should have known they were taking a risk, but the difference between recklessness and negligence is not always clear. An example of recklessness would be DUI – the offending party clearly knows they were taking a risk, and continued with the conduct. Once again, a deliberateness is evident.

However, there are crimes that are not inherently, or morally wrong, and it is impossible for any one person to know all laws. Furthermore, many laws are intricately complex, which further adds to the confusing calculus. Because of that, it puts even the most circumspect and conscientious people at risk of violating laws for which many – including legislators, legal experts, jurists, attorneys, and others – are unaware of their requirements. And in that sense, the traditional protection afforded by determining culpability before conviction is dismissed.

Most folks would agree, I’m certain, that it’s probably not too uncommon for anyone to violate a law unknowingly. And, when such a thing occurs, and someone is arrested for the same – for unknowingly violating a law – when the time for prosecution comes around (if it does), because often, such cases are rapidly dismissed by the state (government) because intentionality is missing.

The state has a responsibility to its citizens to make them aware of the law, so that they can abide by it.

But, in Texas, there is presently a case which will undoubtedly be heard by that state’s Supreme Court (though it must first be heard by the TX Court of Criminal Appeals) which raises that very question:
Can a citizen be held to account for unintentionally violating a law, when the state had a responsibility – which they admittedly failed to do – to notify the citizen of their circumstances before the law, and liability to it?

Crystal Mason

A Fort Worth, TX woman – Crystal Mason – who happens to be Black, was on supervised release for a Federal felony conviction related to tax fraud, when she cast a provisional ballot in 2016. She had been released from prison the previous year. She and her former husband had owned a tax preparation business, and was accused of inflating tax deductions on some returns which they prepared for clients, and eventually plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government, and was sentenced to 5yrs in prison, and 3yrs supervised release. She was placed on probation for 2 of 3 other felonies, and received deferred adjudication for the 3rd.

Neither state, nor Federal authorities notified her that she was, by Texas state law, ineligible to vote until the entire term of her punishment was fully completed.

Officials who were overseeing her supervised release testified at her trial that they never informed her that she was ineligible to vote under Texas state law.

She was urged by Read the rest of this entry »

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NCAA Claims Student Athletes Who Make Them BIG BUCK$ Don’t Deserve A $hare

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Today, the NCAA is appearing before the United States Supreme Court today arguing about… money.

Yes, money.

This case verges on indentured servitude, and hypocrisy is open, and plainly evident.

But hey… what else is new when it comes to treatment of the impoverished, females, and minorities?

Meanwhile, the BIG BUCKS go to build lavish facilities for the male athletes, not all of which are for training, to the coaches for their $alarie$ and compen$ation, and to build extravagant stadiums and arenas.

Not even a fraction goes to the athletes.

And none of it goes to the students.

Not one thin dime.

Here’s an idea instead of paying coaches eye-popping salaries, how about capping their compensation, and placing about half of the money toward student scholarship?

It’d be an INVESTMENT in education, for that is the primary (hopefully) reason the athletes chose to become students at the university where they play.

And best of all, it would ALL come from the Private Sector, one of many “holy cows” of the GOP Brahmans.


Take To The Court: Justices Will Hear Case On Student Athlete Compensation
March 31, 2021, 5:00 AM ET
Heard on Morning Edition
by Nina Totenberg

Nina Totenberg at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2019. (photo by Allison Shelley)

https://www.npr.org/2021/03/31/982836334/take-to-the-court-justices-will-hear-case-on-student-athlete-compensation

As March Madness plays out on TV, the U.S. Supreme Court takes a rare excursion into sports law Wednesday in a case testing whether the NCAA’s limits on compensation for student athletes violate the nation’s antitrust laws.

The outcome could have enormous consequences for college athletics.

The NCAA maintains that Read the rest of this entry »

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Republican Anti-Maskers Behaving Badly

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Yes, we all know that they’re jerkwads.

They also believe that the moon is made of green cheese, and that POS45 won re-election. That’s why he’s not in the White House – he’s on permanent vacation pooping into one of his golden toilets at his Palm Beach, FL resort, and playing golf. Because that’s what winners do, right?

And lie about practically everything. He’s a liar, so that almost goes without saying.

He deceived the American public – or, at least attempted to deceive the American public – about getting a vaccination against COVID-19 before leaving the White House.

Trump Received COVID Vaccine at White House in January
by Alayna Treene, March 1, 2021

Trump Privately Received The Coronavirus Vaccine While He Was President In January
by Oma Seddiq, March 1, 2021, 3:30 PM

Trump Vaccinated In January After Claiming He Was ‘Immune’ To COVID-19
by Jemima McEvoy, March 1, 2021, 03:34pm EST

Donald And Melania Trump Received COVID Vaccine At The White House In January
by Jim Acosta and Caroline Kelly, Updated 5:04 PM ET, Mon March 1, 2021

Trump Received COVID-19 Vaccine at White House in January, Sources Say
by Weijia Jiang, Arden Farhi, March 2, 2021 / 7:08 AM /

Trump Got Vaccinated Secretly, Because Otherwise He Might Have Helped the Country
by Ryan Bort, March 1, 2021, 7:19PM ET

Trumps Received COVID-19 Vaccines at White House in January
by Brooke Singman, March 2, 2021

Trump Received COVID Vaccine at White House in January
by Alayna Treene, Updated March 1, 2021

Donald & Melania Trump Face Backlash For Getting COVID Vaccine After Claiming Virus‘Isn’t That Bad’
by Jason Brow, March 2, 2021 9:30AM EST

That’s what true leadership looks like, eh?

But about the a-holes who spread disease in America…

They’re selfish SOBs.

And besides that, they’re stupid.

That’s all there is to it.

Period.

End of conversation.

Read these two latest articles about the morons who sadly, are our neighbors.

Kelly Yamanouchi, of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote this recent story about the fiends who attempt to fly the friendly skies without wearing face protection:

The Federal Aviation Administration is Read the rest of this entry »

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Up You Go! Goldman Sachs Predicts 8% American Economic Growth

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, March 16, 2021

“We have raised our GDP forecast to reflect the latest fiscal policy news and now expect 8% growth in 2021 (Q4/Q4) and an unemployment rate of 4% at end-2021 — the lowest among consensus forecasts—that falls to 3.5% in 2022 and 3.2% in 2023.”

The la$t time U.$. GDP hit 8% growth wa$ in 1951.

The la$t time U.$. GDP hit 8% growth wa$ in 1951.

The last time U.S. GDP hit 8% growth was in 1951.

(Just wanna’ make sure you see it CLEARLY.)

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/bidens-stimulus-will-lift-us-growth-to-8-this-year-goldman-sachs-says-without-factoring-in-another-2-trillion-spending-package/ar-BB1eBQrg

  • Goldman Sachs lifted its 2021 US growth forecast to 8% from 7.7%, citing new stimulus for the boost.
  • The bank also expects Biden and Democrats to pass at least $2 trillion in infrastructure spending.
  • That sum could hit $4 trillion if the deal includes education, child-care, and health-care spending.

Goldman Sachs joined its Wall Street peers in revising its US economic outlook on Saturday, pegging an increasingly bullish forecast to Democrats’ latest stimulus package.

The team led by Jan Hatzius now expects US gross domestic product to grow 8% in 2021 on a fourth-quarter-to-fourth-quarter basis, according to a note published Saturday. That’s up from the previous estimate of 7.7%. The bank’s full-year growth estimate climbed to 7% from 6.9%.

The current-year projection largely hinges on President Joe Biden’s stimulus plan, as Goldman had initially expected a $1.5 trillion deal to reach Biden’s desk. The $1.9 trillion plan signed by the president on Thursday will accelerate the nation’s economic recovery through Read the rest of this entry »

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Is It TRUE -or- Is It FALSE?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, March 16, 2021

True -or- False?

1.) Approximately 70% of adult wage earners in households that received SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, formerly known as “Food Stamps”) and/or Medicaid worked full time hours (defined as 35+ hours weekly), and about 50% worked full time hours yearly.

2.) 90% of wage-earning adults participating in either SNAP or Medicaid worked in the Private Sector, compared to 81% of non-participants.

3.) When compared to adult wage earners not participating in SNAP or Medicaid, wage-earning adults in either or both programs were more likely to work in the Leisure and Hospitality industry, and in Food Service occupations.

4.) The single largest majority of adult wage earners who participated in SNAP and/or Medicaid worked for employers with Read the rest of this entry »

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Guess Which One?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Which one’s which?

Find the M-16 and the AR-15.

And, did you know?

ALL parts are interchangeable on the M-16 and the AR-15.

Every single one of them.

Why is that?

When Eugene Stoner (1922-1997) of the Armalite corporation originally designed the weapon, it was at the behest of the United States Department of Defense which sought a firearm that was lightweight (under 6 pounds) had a high-capacity magazine (30 rounds), and could penetrate BOTH sides of a steel helmet at 500 yards. It was called the AR15, for Armalite Rifle version 15. There had been several previous iterations to the rifle, all of which were intended exclusively for military use.

The .223 caliber round (the bullet, not the shell/casing) had been introduced to market and made available to the civilian market by Remington, which commercially introduced the .222 Remington as a varmint cartridge in 1950 – a round intended for pest control.

Bullets are measured in size, which is called “caliber,” and refers to its diameter/circumference, and weight, which is measured in “grains.” So, a 60 grain bullet would weigh 3.887935 grams.

Sometimes also called “ball ammo,” bullets so described are lead bullets completely covered with metal, also known as FMJ, or Full Metal Jacket. Unlike hollow point bullets – bullets which have a hollowed-out center – ball ammo/FMJ bullets do not expand upon impact. Instead, they penetrate a target and quite possibly even penetrate the object behind the target.

There are also numerous varieties and shapes of ball ammunition which range from “boat tails,” flat nose (sometimes called dum-dum bullets), and ones with truncated cones. Each shape has a specific use, but all are made for one purpose in mind: Penetration.

Though the years, the development of the .223 caliber round, and the Armalite Rifle proceeded. The military was increasingly interested in both.

In 1957, events began to accelerate with development of both. Eugene Stoner had developed a rifle called the AR-10 in response to the Army’s request for a “small-caliber, high-velocity” (SCHV) cartridge – the entire shell casing and round, filled with gunpowder, a primer, and bullet. And that year, the Infantry Board had agreed upon the preliminary specifications, which called for a 6 pound, select-fire .22″ rifle with a conventional stock and a 20 round magazine. The proposed chambering had to penetrate the standard issue steel helmet, body armor, and a .135″ steel plate at 500 yards, while maintaining the trajectory and accuracy of M2 ball from a M1 Garand, and equaling or exceeding the “wounding” ability of the .30 Carbine.

In January 1963, just as the Vietnam “conflict” was simmering slightly below a boil, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered the AR-15 adopted to replace the M14 which had been the standard issue infantry rifle, and standard issue for all branches of service for several years. His decision was based upon Read the rest of this entry »

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ERCOT To Be Sued Into Oblivion

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 22, 2021

What’d I tell you, eh?

Just a matter of a few days ago, on Thursday, February 18, 2021, in an entry entitled “Details On Texas’ Electrical Power Grid Production Problems,” I wrote in part that,

“It would not be too far-fetched to imagine (unless the Texas State Legislature asserted otherwise, and chose not to protect the people, but industry instead), that in the future, if such deliberate failures to act to prevent catastrophic loss in Texas – primarily as loss of human life, but property loss, as well – would be subject to litigation by others against the offenders – that being the entire spectrum of participants, ranging from  Power Generators, Investor-Owned Utilities aka Retail Electricity Providers, and ERCOT as the esrtwhile ne’er do well pseudo-manager, and perhaps even the Public Utility Commission of Texas for allowing it all to happen under their watchful eyes.

“Ultimately, of course, the responsibility lies with Texas politicians who have horrifically and bitterly failed their constituents… again, and in magnificently resplendent fashion – making this catastrophic fiasco their magnum opus of failure.

“And there is precedent for the same. Pacific Gas and Electric (PGE), the primary electrical utility and NatGas service provider for California, was sued recently, and consequently filed bankruptcy because of the sheer volume of lawsuits filed citing PGE’s deliberate failures to act in a preventative manner to secure their power lines to prevent fire, which in turn caused massive wildfires in the state. To assert that affirmative corporate responsibility is somehow tortuous or onerous to justice or jurisprudence is beyond the scope of the pale. And ERCOT is a well-known name in Texas.”

And, have you noticed?

The ERCOT website, ERCOT.com has remained off-line for several days, and at last check, moments ago, remained off-line.

Fortunately, however, there is a thing called the “Internet Archive” which has a “Wayback Machine” that caches and “makes images” (copies) of websites worldwide. So the ERCOT website isn’t truly gone… even though they might wish it to be.

But ERCOT and Entergy… deserve to be punished for their failures.

The buck stops here.


$100M Lawsuit Alleges Negligence By Power Company, Grid Operator Led To Texas Boy’s Death During Winter Storm

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/539798-100m-lawsuit-alleges-negligence-by-power-company-grid-operator-led-to

The family of an 11-year-old boy who died in the freezing Texas weather last week has filed a lawsuit against the state’s grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), and power company Entergy, alleging that gross negligence led to the child’s death.

Local Houston news station KHOU reports that the family of Cristian Pavon has filed a lawsuit and is represented by attorney Tony Buzbee.


Family of Conroe boy who died during winter storm suing ERCOT, Entergy for $100M

The lawsuit alleges gross negligence by the power grid operator and the electricity provider, saying it led to the death of 11-year-old Cristian Pavon.
Published: 7:24 PM CST February 20, 2021

https://www.kens5.com/article/weather/11-year-old-found-dead-after-freezing-cold-night-in-a-conroe-mobile-home-with-no-power/285-4781bcb9-6643-4224-8b5b-c1fc5c725b61

CONROE, Texas — A Conroe family whose young son died during the winter storm has enlisted to help of high-profile attorney Tony Buzbee in their lawsuit against ERCOT and Entergy.

The lawsuit alleges gross negligence by the power grid operator and the electricity provider, saying it led to the death of 11-year-old Christian Pavon.

The boy died Tuesday after spending the night in his frigid mobile home that lost power.

The lawsuit says Christian died of hypothermia, and the family is asking for more than $100 million in damages.

Medical examiners have not yet released his cause of death.

Entergy released the following statement on the lawsuit:
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in our community. We are unable to comment due to pending litigation.”

ERCOT also released a statement:
“We haven’t yet reviewed the lawsuits and Read the rest of this entry »

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Details On Texas’ Electrical Power Grid Production Problems

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Texas Interconnection, which covers 213 of Texas’ 254 counties, is managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Counties NOT included: Bailey, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cochran, Dallam, El Paso, Gaines, Gregg, Hansford, Hardin, Harrison, Hartley, Hemphill, Hockley, Hudspeth, Hutchinson, Jasper, Jefferson, Lamb, Liberty, Lipscomb, Lubbock, Marion, Moore, Morris, Newton, Ochiltree, Orange, Panola, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Sherman, Terry, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur and Yoakum. (Total = 41)

By now, you’ve likely read or heard numerous stories of Texans’ suffering because of electrical power outages, that are now becoming rolling blackouts.

And, perhaps as well you’ve read that deregulation has been a significantly influential part of the problem.

And then, you may have also read or heard that failure to properly insulate and protect against wintry weather conditions has been the preliminary finding of a root cause analysis.

But you may also wonder why other states or nations which regularly experience much colder temperature extremes don’t have the same kinds of problems that Texas has.

Scandinavian countries, Minnesotans, Michiganders and Mainers all regularly have much cooler temperatures and wind power, but their windmills and electrical power grids don’t stop operating like the ones in Texas did. And Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, and other European nations also regularly have cold weather that doesn’t shut down their power grid. So, what gives?

The weather-related failures of Texas’ natural gas (NatGas) infrastructure that has resulted in this present and most unfortunate crisis, are because NatGas pipelines froze in the very time of year and season in which they are most heavily relied upon.

Again, states and nations with much colder climes don’t seem to have the kinds of problems that Texas is experiencing. And there remains at least 42 signatory nations with permanent, year-round research stations in the Antarctic, which also have electricity. So again, why exactly did natural gas pipelines freeze in Texas? Water is the primary thing that freezes, right?

With single-digit temperatures, Texas’ Natural Gas pipelines froze up because there was moisture in the gas. Like moisture on the exterior of an iced beverage glass, cold temperatures cause moisture to condensate, and once liquefied, then exposed to freezing temperatures, gas pipelines were literally blocked with ice, and in some cases, the compressors lost power. It’s common for Natural Gas to be stored underground, which is also where it originates. So in its “raw” state, or untreated condition, it is not uncommon for water – either as liquid, or vapor – to be present in the unrefined gas, which in turn, must be “dried out,” or dehumidified to certain levels in order to be salable and usable.

In response, pumps which were used to deliver Natural Gas then slowed down. The Diesel engines which were used to power the pumps refused to start. And from there, it was a cascade of failures – a “domino effect” – one power plant after another went offline. Even 1 of Texas’ 2 nuclear reactors went dark, hampered by inoperable equipment. And to be certain, the nuclear power plant wasn’t “crippled” in the sense that it was incapable of operations, but a decision – in the interest of safety – was made to shut down the plant because a critical component – a sensor – was not working because of the cold temperatures. Further complicating matters, the NatGas that was available was prioritized for heating residences and businesses, rather than for generating electricity.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“The measurement of moisture in natural gas is an important parameter for the processing, storage and transportation of natural gas globally. Natural gas is dehydrated prior to introduction into the pipeline and distribution network. However, attempts to reduce dehydration result in a reduction in “gas quality” and an increase in maintenance costs and transportation as well as potential safety issues.. Consequently, to strike the right balance, it is important that the water component of natural gas is measured precisely and reliably. Moreover, in custody transfer of natural gas between existing and future owners maximum allowable levels are set by tariff, normally expressed in terms of absolute humidity (mg/m3 or lbs/mmscfh) or dew point temperature.

“Prior to transportation, water is separated from raw natural gas. However some water still remains present in the gaseous state as water vapor. If the gas cools or comes in contact with any surface that is colder that the prevailing dew point temperature of the gas, water will condense in the form of liquid or ice. Under pressure, water also has the unique property of being able to form a lattice structure around hydrocarbons such as methane to form solid hydrates. Ice or solid hydrates can cause blockage in pipelines. In addition, water combines with gases such as Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) to form corrosive acids. Water in natural gas also increases the cost of transportation in pipelines by adding mass and as water vapor has no calorific or heating value it also adds to the expense of compression and transportation. When natural gas is sold, there are contractual requirements to limit the concentration of water vapor. In the United States the limit or tariff is expressed in absolute humidity in units of pounds per million standard cubic feet (lbs/mmscf). The maximum absolute humidity for interstate transfer is set at 7lbs/mmscf. In Europe, bodies such as EASEE-gas make recommendations on the maximum permissible amount of water vapor in the gas. EASEE-gas has approved a limit of -8°C Dew Point, referenced to a gas pressure of 70 Bar(a). This recommended limit is generally being adhered to in the gas industry across Europe.”

–– “Moisture Measurement Technologies for Natural Gas,” By Gerard McKeogh, Regional Product Manager, GE Measurement & Control

ASTM D4888 – 20; Standard Test Method for Water Vapor in Natural Gas Using Length-of-Stain Detector Tubes

Water content of high pressure natural gas: Data, prediction and experience from field,” by Kjersti Omdahl Christensen, Torbjørn Vegard Løkken, Even Solbraa, Cecilie Fjeld Nygaard, Anita Bersås;

Equinor, a Stavanger, Norway-based international energy company, engaged in exploration, development and production of oil and gas, including wind and solar power. They sell crude oil and are a major supplier of natural gas, with activities in processing, refining, and trading.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Of course, politicians Read the rest of this entry »

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Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott says…

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 17, 2021

“This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America. Our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10 percent of our power grid, and that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis. It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary.”

Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott says stupid shit.

The chart below, from the United States Energy Information Administration, shows that in Texas, Natural Gas-Fired electricity generation is BY FAR – by at least TWICE – the SINGLE LARGEST SOURCE of electrical power in Texas.

It is NOT Nonhydroelectric Renewables, which supplies only 8679 thousand MWh while Natural Gas which supplies 19,890 thousand MWh.

Yeah.

But wind turbines are the problem – according to Governor Abbott and other nuts.

What kind of ding-dong dumbass is Greg Abbott?

Governor Abbott had an embarrassing and unannounced public case of verbal diarrhea on The Blame Game show on Tuesday’s edition of Faux Newz with Right Wing Nut Job Extremist Sean Hannity as the talking head show.

But, let’s be fair about this, shall we?

It happened on YOUR watch, Governor Greggy-poo. Therefore, it’s YOUR fault.

It’s YOUR FAULT
because
YOU DID NOTHING
TO
PREVENT IT FROM HAPPENING.

Simply put, you did NOT look out for the welfare of your state’s citizens.

You FAILED.

In a series of Tweets, Dan Crenshaw, Texas Republican U.S. Representative for CD2-Houston stated what many agreed is the problem – there’s no insulation in natural gas pipelines in Texas. Thus, they were freezing up, and creating problems.

“Low Supply of Natural Gas: ERCOT planned on

Read the rest of this entry »

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Deregulation Has Caused Texas’ Energy Problems

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Texas Electrical Energy Deregulation map
The Texas and Dallas deregulated energy service areas are divided into six Transmission and Delivery Utility (TDU) Companies. Those TDUs are:
• Texas New Mexico Power Company (TNMP)
• Sharyland Utilites
• AEP North (American Electric Power)
• AEP Central
• Oncor (most of DFW, Dallas-Fort Worth included)
• CenterPoint (Houston and surrounding areas)

While it’s cold – and yes, it’s a Polar Vortex (see the motion gif showing 2 months of daily changes at the bottom of this page) – it’s NOT like the Polar Vortex of February 2019.

But if you’ve been wondering WHY Texas is having problems delivering electricity right now with a relatively minor cold snap moving through much of the United States, and other states aren’t, wonder no more.

Texas has a DEREGULATED energy/electrical power grid.

Texas, which is the nation’s the largest energy producer and consumer, is the only state in the nation to have and use its own power grid.

There are three electrical power grids in the Lower 48 states:
1.) The Eastern Interconnection;
2.) The Western Interconnection, and;
3.) The Texas Interconnection.

For more information, see:
U.S. electric system is made up of interconnections and balancing authorities
https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=27152
;
See also:
Learn More About Interconnections
https://www.energy.gov/oe/services/electricity-policy-coordination-and-implementation/transmission-planning/recovery-act-0
.

Texas’ electrical power grid is called ERCOT, which is Read the rest of this entry »

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Rest In Peace, Larry Flynt: Renown First Amendment Advocate, Vietnam Veteran, Entrepreneur Dies Aged 78

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, February 11, 2021

Larry Flynt, known globally as an entrepreneur and First Amendment champion, has died aged 78.

Mr. Flynt had a strong desire for service to the nation, and first enlisted in the United States Army using a false birth certificate when he was aged 15, and had dropped out of the 9th grade. After 7 months, in 1960, he was declared supernumerary and honorably discharged. He then repeated that performance, and joined the United States Navy, where he served for 5 years, and was honorably discharged in 1964 during the Vietnam War. While serving aboard the USS Enterprise as a radar operator, he was on duty during the operation to recover John Glenn’s space capsule after splashdown following his first space orbit.

Larry Flynt (center) makes his way through a crowd at a rally in Cincinnati in 1977.

He was a native Southerner, and was born and raised in Lakeville, Kentucky, in Magoffin County, a still-small village in the practical middle of nowhere, in the state’s eastern central portion, due east of Lexington about a 2-hour drive on Kentucky State Highway 9009.

Mr. Flynt may perhaps best be known as pornographer, and publisher of Hustler magazine, a title of which he was unashamed, and for which an attempted assassin’s bullet severed his spinal cord outside the courthouse in Gwinnett County Georgia, on March 6, 1978, where he was facing obscenity charges, which he won. From that point on, he was never able to walk, and relied upon a wheelchair for mobility, albeit, a custom-made, gold-plated one.

For many years thereafter, Mr. Flynt’s sniper went undiscovered until an arrest for two unrelated killings elsewhere, when the suspect confessed to being Flynt’s shooter. White Supremacist John Paul Franklin said the reason he shot Flynt, was because he objected to photos in Hustler depicting interracial couples. He was executed by the state of Missouri in 2013 – an act which Mr. Flynt disapproved of as an opponent of the death penalty.

For many years, he had a long-term friendship with the Reverend Jerry Falwell Read the rest of this entry »

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STOP THE ABUSE: Prime Examples Why ALL Churches & Religion Should Be TAXED

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Associated Press has reported today that Catholic parishes in dioceses throughout the nation have fallen at the feet of government for a pandemic bailout – all while sitting on massive piles of cash that GREW SIGNIFICANTLY during the pandemic – and without any government help.

(see: Sitting On Billions, Catholic Dioceses Amassed Taxpayer Aid)

That is at least TWO forms of fraudulent abuse of government:
1.) Asking for help when it’s NOT needed, and;
2.) Religion asking Government for help.

That the government has become involved in the promotion and promulgation of religion is a stench in the nostrils of our nation’s Founders, is a violation of our United States Constitution’s “Establishment clause” in the First Amendment, and a perverted corruption of Heaven – for those who believe religion is above the political fray.

For those who adhere to the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson had some STRONG words to the Danbury Baptists who sought assistance from him, shortly after he had become President in 1801. It was on January 1 the following year, that Jefferson replied to a letter sent to him by the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut.

While much is rightfully made of Jefferson’s reply, not much is ever said about what the Baptists had written to him. In a letter dated “[after 7 Oct. 1801],” the Danbury Baptist Association had composed a letter to Jefferson of much greater length than was Jefferson’s brief reply to them – 503 words versus 226 words.

Jefferson was newly President, having been inaugurated as the 3rd President, March 4, 1801, and served two consecutive terms – until March 3, 1809. A mere 7 months into his first term, the Danbury Baptist Association wrote to him, in part, that;

“… religion is consider’d as the first object of Legislation; & therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights: and these favors we receive at the expence of such degrading acknowledgements as are inconsistant with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondred at therefore; if those, who seek after power & gain under the pretence of goverment & Religion should reproach their fellow men—should reproach their chief Magistrate, as an enemy of religion Law & good order because he will not, dares not assume the prerogative of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.

Sir, we are sensible that the President of the united States, is not the national Legislator, & also sensible that the national goverment cannot destroy the Laws of each State; but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved President, which have had such genial Effect already, like the radiant beams of the Sun, will shine & prevail through all these States and all the world till Hierarchy and tyranny be destroyed from the Earth. …”

The style and use of language then, of course, is significantly different from style today, and is much more “flowery,” formal and ornamental. Today’s language is more straight-forward, and to-the-point… blunt, even. There are advantages and disadvantages to each style, of course, but the point is, for that reason, sometimes it can be difficult to “interpret” what the writer(s) are attempting to say, or what matter they’re trying to address. That can also be complicated by variants in spelling of words commonly used today, which are considered obsolete, and archaic. One such example or archaic spelling in their letter is the word “ancient” which they spell as “antient.”

But the the excerpts in the paragraphs above are the veritable “heart” of the matter in their letter. In essence, what the Danbury Baptist Association is asking Jefferson to do, is to “settle” a matter – in their favor – in a disagreement they had with a dissenting religious faction.

A bit of background knowledge is necessary for a more full understanding the matter which the Danbury Baptists’ letter addressed. The National Archives provides an excellently succinct backgrounder for the matter, as follows:

“At its October 1800 meeting, the association initiated a petition movement to redress the grievances of the dissenting minority against the Congregationalist majority in the region. Although disestablishment had not been an issue in the 1800 election in Connecticut, the movement was a call for the statewide repeal of all laws that could be understood as supporting an established religion. [Emphasis added. Ed.] In 1801, the petition movement tried to remain above partisan politics and cultivated support of some Congregationalists, Episcopalians, and other dissenters who might be sympathetic to their cause. On 8 Oct. 1801, the Danbury Baptist Association, meeting at Colebrook, Connecticut, voted that Elders Stephen Royce (of Stratfield), Daniel Wildman (of Wolcott and Bristol), Nehemiah Dodge (of Southington and Farmington), Stephen S. Nelson (of Hartford), and Deacons Jared Mills (of Simsbury) and Ephraim Robbins (of Hartford) “be a committee to prepare an address to the President of the United States, in behalf of this association.” The address and President Jefferson’s reply of 1 Jan. 1802 were reprinted in newspapers across the country, including Denniston and Cheetham’s American Citizen on 18 Jan. 1802 (Minutes of the Danbury Baptist Association, Holden at Colebrook, October 7 and 8, 1801; Together with Their Circular and Corresponding Letters [Hartford, 1801]; Shaw-Shoemaker, No. 109; McLoughlin, New England Dissent, 2:920, 985–8, 1004–5; Connecticut Courant, 25 May 1801).”

The letter by the Danbury Baptist Association dated October 7, 1801 was received by Jefferson on 30 December 1801, and is enumerated in Jefferson’s “Summary Journal of Letters.”

In essence, the Danbury Baptists were asking Jefferson to
rule in a semi-private matter
(a disagreement between Danbury Baptists,
and a differing Christian sect),
in which any hint of religion was going to be
eradicated from
the laws in Connecticut.
The Danbury Baptists opposed the measure.

Thus, it can easier be understood Jefferson’s reply to them. And while Jefferson’s letter is half the length of the one addressed to him by Danbury Baptists, it is much more succinct. In essence, Jefferson “shut them down” (at least quieted their clamor) by his reply, which in pertinent part read:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”

“A wall of separation between Church and State.” There could perhaps be no more clear example for a case of “laissez-faire” than in Jefferon’s letter of reply to the Danbury Baptists.

And now, we have a multi-billion dollar, tax-free corporation coming and begging for a taxpayer-funded handout.

Could there be anything more onerous?

Could there be any greater example of an violation of the First Amendment’s “Establishment clause” – that government should not endorse any religion, nor show deference to any religion by providing special support and succor to that religion?

No.

When the Catholic church – or any religion – lobbies the government for special consideration and gets $1.4 BILLION in taxpayer-funded handouts, what is there to be said?

You read that correctly.

On July 10, 2020, in a story headlined “AP: Catholic Church Lobbied For Taxpayer Funds, Got $1.4B,” the Associated Press reported that;

“The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups.

“The church’s haul may have reached — or even exceeded — $3.5 billion, making a global religious institution with more than a billion followers among the biggest winners in the U.S. government’s pandemic relief efforts, an Associated Press analysis of federal data released this week found.”

How about THEM apples, eh?

Sexual predators in the Catholic church, most often as clergy who were long known to be habitually chronic sexual predators, were found out, and rather than ‘fessing up, apologizing, and offering some kind of universal class-action settlement with all affected individuals, and forever closing out their case, the Catholic church deliberately shuffled money around to hide it from any prospective legal action, and applied for, and was granted, special protection under bankruptcy laws to stash their cash away from the victims, and their lawyers, who were preparing to, or were already suing the church for allowing their sexual abuse to continue, in some cases, for well over 40, or 50 years, or even longer.

If that is not the picture of corruption, I do not know what it.

And to think… the QAnon folks ~could~ have sunk their teeth into that meat, but instead chose not to, and rather, fabricated some far-fetched bullshit story that has so little substance, that it’s laughable. And right-wingers believed them!

THERE IS MORE GLOBAL CHILD SEXUAL ABUSES RIGHT UNDER THEIR NOSES THAN THEY COULD EVER SHAKE STICK AT – INCLUDING ACCOMPANYING CRIMES AND CORRUPTION – AND QANON TYPES DELIBERATELY CHOSE TO IGNORE IT.

And, I can guarant-damn-tee it, that they’ll DO NOTHING ABOUT IT.

The United States Congress should pull the rug out from under the Catholic church’s feet – along with ALL other luxuriating religious criminal cabals – and:
1.) PERMANENTLY REVOKE ALL religious organizations’ tax-exempt status;
2.) MANDATE that they ALL pay taxes;
3.) ELIMINATE laws providing special treatment to ALL religious entities, including tax status, by changing tax code to reflect status change.

If churches and other religious organizations want taxpayer money, they ought to pay for it through taxes. That way as well, ALL churches would be free to their heart’s content to preach from the pulpit any kind of political tripe that they see fit, and not have to worry about losing their tax-free status… because it’d already be gone.

It is
LONG OVERDUE
for this
Government-supported
Criminal Clown Theater
TO STOP!

And the ONLY way to put an end to religious corruption and governmental support of religious corruption, is to REMOVE TAX FREE STATUS FOR RELIGION.

There is NOTHING in the Constitution that states, nor suggests, that religion should be tax-free.

NOTHING!

James A. Garfield, a Republican, who later became President, had something to say about the matter. And, at the time when he made the following remarks – Monday, June 22, 1874 – was a Member of Congress in the House of Representatives from Ohio’s 19th Congressional District.

Mr. GARFIELD. I desire in a very few words, not to argue the merits of this case but to give the ground on which the Committee on Appropriations made their recommendation. Having stated that ground, I shall leave the question to the discretion of the House.

James Abram Garfield (November 19, 1831–September 19, 1881) was a Republican, and 20th President of the United States from March 4, 1881 until his assassination September 19, 1881. Before being elected POTUS, he was Member of Ohio State Senate, 1859-61; Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1863-80, and; Elected to United States Senate, 1880. He was a member of the Disciples of Christ denomination, graduated college Phi Beta Kappa salutatorian from Williams College where he first worked as janitor, later becoming a teacher there, United States Army Veteran of the Civil War rising to the rank of Brigadier General, teacher, lawyer, and public official.

I agree with everything that the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. E. R. Hoar] has said about the worthy charitable work of this organization known as the Little Sisters of the Poor. I agree that they distribute their charity without the slightest regard to denominational belief. The only ground on which I make a distinction (and it is a distinction I wish the House to understand) is this: Here is an organization composed exclusively of people of one religious denomination. Under its charter the members are wholly and only of one religious sect, and of one society within that religious sect. I take it that no woman in America, not a Catholic, could be one of the corporators in this home. At any rate I take it for granted that the members would not act in conjunction with any corporation not of that sect as a joint controller of the institution.

Now, I make the point – and the Committee on Appropriations made the point – that we ought never to commit ourselves to the aid of an exclusively sectarian institution. I would say the same were this institution under the control of a Protestant church, even if it were a church to which I myself belonged. The divorce between the church and the state ought to be absolute. It ought to be so absolute that no church property anywhere in any State or in the nation should be exempted from equal taxation; for if you exempt the property of any church organization, to that extent you impose a church tax upon the whole community. [emphasis added]

If the House deems this a point that ought not to be considered, I shall be very glad to see these Little Sisters of the Poor helped. If the fifty-sixth amendment, making an appropriation for the work for the Women’s Christian Association were in favor of any one sect, I should vote very quickly to strike it out.”

–– James A. Garfield, Republican, then Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio’s 19th Congressional District, Congressional Record, 43rd Congress, Monday, June 22, 1874, Volume 2, Part 6, p5384

The United States Federal Government has also FAILED The People by FAILING to initiate a RICO case against the Roman Catholic Church. RICO is Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization, and if any organization was ever corrupt, it is the Roman Catholic Church, for their DELIBERATE NEGLECT of known child sexual predators in their ranks, predominately in the clergy.

TAX ALL CHURCHES!

When the coronavirus forced churches to close their doors and give up Sunday collections, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte turned to the federal government’s signature small business relief program for more than $8 million.

The diocese’s headquarters, churches and schools landed the help even though they had roughly $100 million of their own cash and short-term investments available last spring, financial records show. When the cash catastrophe church leaders feared didn’t materialize, those assets topped $110 million by the summer.

As the pandemic began to unfold, scores of Catholic dioceses across the U.S. received aid through the Paycheck Protection Program while sitting on well over $10 billion in cash, short-term investments or other available funds, an Associated Press investigation has found. And despite the broad economic downturn, these assets have grown in many dioceses.

Yet even with that financial safety net, the 112 dioceses that shared their financial statements, along with the churches and schools they oversee, collected at least $1.5 billion in taxpayer-backed aid. A majority of these dioceses reported enough money on hand to cover at least six months of operating expenses, even without any new income.

The financial resources of several dioceses rivaled or exceeded those available to publicly traded companies like Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, whose early participation in the program triggered outrage. Federal officials responded by emphasizing the money was intended for those who lacked the cushion that cash and other liquidity provide. Many corporations returned the funds.

Overall, the nation’s nearly 200 dioceses, where bishops and cardinals govern, and other Catholic institutions received at least $3 billion. That makes the Roman Catholic Church perhaps the biggest beneficiary of the paycheck program, according to AP’s analysis of data the U.S. Small Business Administration released following a public-records lawsuit by news organizations. The agency for months had shared only partial information, making a more precise analysis impossible.

Already one of the largest federal aid efforts ever, the SBA reopened the Paycheck Protection Program last month with a new infusion of nearly $300 billion. In making the announcement, the agency’s administrator at the time, Jovita Carranza, hailed the program for serving “as an economic lifeline to millions of small businesses.”

Church officials have said their employees were as worthy of help as workers at Main Street businesses, and that without it they would have had to slash jobs and curtail their charitable mission as demand for food pantries and social services spiked. They point out the program’s rules didn’t require them to exhaust their stores of cash and other funds before applying.

But new financial statements several dozen dioceses have posted for 2020 show that their available resources remained robust or improved during the pandemic’s hard, early months. The pattern held whether a diocese was big or small, urban or rural, East or West, North or South.

In Kentucky, funds available to the Archdiocese of Louisville, its parishes and other organizations grew from at least $153 million to $157 million during the fiscal year that ended in June, AP found. Those same offices and organizations received at least $17 million in paycheck money. “The Archdiocese’s operations have not been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak,” according to its financial statement. [emphasis added]

In Illinois, the Archdiocese of Chicago had more than $1 billion in cash and investments in its headquarters and cemetery division as of May, while the faithful continued to donate “more than expected,” according to a review by the independent ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service. Chicago’s parishes, schools and ministries accumulated at least $77 million in paycheck protection funds.

Up the interstate from Charlotte in North Carolina, the Raleigh Diocese collected at least $11 million in aid. Yet during the fiscal year that ended in June, overall offerings were down just 5% and the assets available to the diocese, its parishes and schools increased by about $21 million to more than $170 million, AP found. In another measure of fiscal health, the diocese didn’t make an emergency draw on its $10 million line of credit.

Catholic leaders in dioceses including Charlotte, Chicago, Louisville and Raleigh said their parishes and schools, like many other businesses and nonprofits, suffered financially when they closed to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Some dioceses reported that their hardest-hit churches saw income drop by 40% or more before donations began to rebound months later, and schools took hits when fundraisers were canceled and families had trouble paying tuition. As revenues fell, dioceses said, wage cuts and a few dozen layoffs were necessary in some offices.

Catholic researchers at Georgetown University who surveyed the nation’s bishops last summer found such measures weren’t frequent. In comparison, a survey by the investment bank Goldman Sachs found 42% of small business owners had cut staff or salaries, and that 33% had spent their personal savings to stay open.

Church leaders have questioned why AP focused on their faith following a story last July, when New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan wrote that reporters “invented a story when none existed and sought to bash the Church.”

By using a special exemption that the church lobbied to include in the paycheck program, Catholic entities amassed at least $3 billion — roughly the same as the combined total of recipients from the other faiths that rounded out the top five, AP found. Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Jewish faith-based recipients also totaled at least $3 billion. Catholics account for about a fifth of the U.S. religious population while members of Protestant and Jewish denominations are nearly half, according to the Pew Research Center.

Catholic institutions also received many times more than other major nonprofits with charitable missions and national reach, such as the United Way, Goodwill Industries and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Overall, Catholic recipients got roughly twice as much as 40 of the largest, most well-known charities in America combined, AP found.

The complete picture is certainly even more lopsided. So many Catholic entities received help that reporters could not identify them all, even after spending hundreds of hours hand-checking tens of thousands of records in federal data.

The Vatican referred questions about the paycheck program to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which said it does not speak on behalf of dioceses.

Presented with AP’s findings, bishops conference spokeswoman Chieko Noguchi responded with a broad statement that the Paycheck Protection Program was “designed to protect the jobs of Americans from all walks of life, regardless of whether they work for for-profit or nonprofit employers, faith-based or secular.”

INTERNAL SKEPTICISM

The AP’s assessment of church finances is among the most comprehensive to date. It draws largely from audited financial statements posted online by the central offices of 112 of the country’s nearly 200 dioceses.

The church isn’t required to share its financials. As a result, the analysis doesn’t include cash, short-term assets and lines of credit held by some of the largest dioceses, including those serving New York City and other major metropolitan areas.

The analysis focused on available assets because federal officials cited those metrics when clarifying eligibility for the paycheck program. Therefore, the $10 billion AP identified doesn’t count important financial pillars of the U.S. church. Among those are its thousands of real estate properties and most of the funds that parishes and schools hold. Also excluded is the money — estimated at $9.5 billion in a 2019 study by the Delaware-based wealth management firm Wilmington Trust — held by charitable foundations created to help dioceses oversee donations.

In addition, dioceses can rely on a well-funded support system that includes help from wealthier dioceses, the bishops conference and other Catholic organizations. Canon law, the legal code the Vatican uses to govern the global church, notes that richer dioceses may assist poorer ones, and the AP found instances where they did.

In their financial statements, the 112 dioceses acknowledged having at least $4.5 billion in liquid or otherwise available assets. To reach its $10 billion total, AP also included funding that dioceses had opted to designate for special projects instead of general expenses; excess cash that parishes and their affiliates deposit with their diocese’s savings and loan; and lines of credit dioceses typically have with outside banks.

Some church officials said AP was misreading their financial books and therefore overstating available assets. They insisted that money their bishop or his advisers had set aside for special projects couldn’t be repurposed during an emergency, although financial statements posted by multiple dioceses stated the opposite.

For its analysis, AP consulted experts in church finance and church law. One was the Rev. James Connell, an accountant for 15 years before joining the priesthood and becoming an administrator in the Milwaukee Archdiocese. Connell, also a canon lawyer who is now retired from his position with the archdiocese, said AP’s findings convinced him that Catholic entities did not need government aid — especially when thousands of small businesses were permanently closing.

“Was it want or need?” Connell asked. “Need must be present, not simply the want. Justice and love of neighbor must include the common good.”

Connell was not alone among the faithful concerned by the church’s pursuit of taxpayer money. Parishioners in several cities have questioned church leaders who received government money for Catholic schools they then closed.

Elsewhere, a pastor in a Western state told AP that he refused to apply even after diocesan officials repeatedly pressed him. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of his diocese’s policy against talking to reporters and concerns about possible retaliation.

The pastor had been saving, much like leaders of other parishes. When the pandemic hit, he used that money, trimmed expenses and told his diocese’s central finance office that he had no plans to seek the aid. Administrators followed up several times, the pastor said, with one high-ranking official questioning why he was “leaving free money on the table.”

The pastor said he felt a “sound moral conviction” that the money was meant more for shops and restaurants that, without it, might close forever.

As the weeks passed last spring, the pastor said his church managed just fine. Parishioners were so happy with new online Masses and his other outreach initiatives, he said, they boosted their contributions beyond 2019 levels.

“We didn’t need it,” the pastor said, “and intentionally wanted to leave the money for those small business owners who did.”

WEATHERING A DOWNTURN

Months after the pandemic first walloped the economy, the 112 dioceses that release financial statements began sharing updates. Among the 47 dioceses that have thus far, the pandemic’s impact was far from crippling.

The 47 dioceses that have posted financials for the fiscal year that ended in June had a median 6% increase in the amount of cash, short-term investments and other funds that they and their affiliates could use for unanticipated or general expenses, AP found. In all, 38 dioceses grew those resources, while nine reported declines.

Finances in Raleigh and 10 other dioceses that took government assistance were stable enough that they did not have to dip into millions they had available through outside lines of credit.

“This crisis has tested us,” Russell Elmayan, Raleigh’s chief financial officer, told the diocese’s magazine website in July, “but we are hopeful that the business acumen of our staff and lay counselors, together with the strategic financial reserves built over time, will help our parishes and schools continue to weather this unprecedented event.” Raleigh officials did not answer direct questions from AP.

The 47 dioceses acknowledged a smaller amount of readily available assets than AP counted, though by their own accounting that grew as well.

The improving financial outlook is due primarily to parishioners who found ways to continue donating and U.S. stock markets that were rebounding to new highs. But when the markets were first plunging, officials in several dioceses said, they had to stretch available assets because few experts were forecasting a rapid recovery.

In Louisville, Charlotte and other dioceses, church leaders said they offered loans or grants to needy parishes and schools, or offset the monthly charges they assess their parishes. In Raleigh, for example, the headquarters used $3 million it had set aside for liability insurance and also tapped its internal deposit and loan fund.

Church officials added that the pandemic’s full toll will probably be seen in a year or two, because some key sources of revenue are calculated based on income that parishes and schools generate.

“We believe that we will not know all of the long-term negative impacts on parish, school and archdiocesan finances for some time,” Louisville Archdiocese spokeswoman Cecelia Price wrote in response to questions.

At the nine dioceses that recorded declines in liquid or other short-term assets, the drops typically were less than 10%, and not always clearly tied to the pandemic.

The financial wherewithal of some larger dioceses is underscored by the fact that, like publicly traded companies, they can raise capital by selling bonds to investors.

One was Chicago, where analysts with the Moody’s ratings agency calculated that the $1 billion in cash and investments held by the archdiocese headquarters and cemeteries division could cover about 631 days of operating expenses.

Church officials in Chicago asserted that those dollars were needed to cover substantial expenses while parishioner donations slumped. Without paycheck support, “parishes and schools would have been forced to cut many jobs, as the archdiocese, given its liabilities, could not have closed such a funding gap,” spokeswoman Paula Waters wrote.

Moody’s noted in its May report that while giving was down, federal aid had compensated for that and helped leave the archdiocese “well positioned to weather this revenue loss over the next several months.” Among the reasons for the optimism: “a unique credit strength” that under church law allows the archbishop to tax parish revenue virtually at will.

In a separate Moody’s report on New Orleans, which filed for bankruptcy in May while facing multiple clergy abuse lawsuits, the ratings agency wrote in July that the archdiocese did so while having “significant financial reserves, with spendable cash and investments of over $160 million.”

Moody’s said the archdiocese’s “very good” liquid assets would let it operate 336 days without additional income. Those assets prompted clergy abuse victims to ask a federal judge to dismiss the bankruptcy filing, arguing the archdiocese’s primary reason for seeking the legal protection was to minimize payouts to them.

The archdiocese, along with its parishes and schools, collected more than $26 million in paycheck money. New Orleans Archdiocesan officials didn’t respond to written questions.

PURSUING AID

Without special treatment, the Catholic Church would not have received nearly so much under the Paycheck Protection Program.

After Congress let nonprofits and religious organizations participate in the first place, Catholic officials lobbied the Trump Administration for a second break. Religious organizations were freed from the so-called affiliation rule that typically disqualifies applicants with more than 500 workers.

Without that break, many dioceses would have missed out because — between their head offices, parishes, schools and other affiliates — their employee count would exceed the limit.

Among those lobbying, federal records show, was the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Parishes, schools and ministries there collected at least $80 million in paycheck aid, at a time when the headquarters reported $658 million in available funds heading into the fiscal year when the coronavirus arrived.

Catholic officials in the U.S. needed the special exception for at least two reasons.

Church law says dioceses, parishes and schools are affiliated, something the Los Angeles Archdiocese acknowledged “proved to be an obstacle” to receiving funds because its parishes operate “under the authority of the diocesan bishop.” Dioceses, parishes, schools and other Catholic entities also routinely assert to the Internal Revenue Service that they are affiliated so they can maintain their federal income tax exemption.

Estimates of the total subsidies enjoyed by religious groups did not take into account the amounts received from subsidies such as the sales tax subsidies, local sales and income tax subsidies, volunteer labor subsidy, and donor-tax exemptions.
Researchers at the Institute claimed that the tax subsidies which were unaccounted for could also amount to billions in tax savings.
Further, the Institute claimed that the subsidies should be cut for religious groups, or at least restricted to being applied solely to the charitable works of the marginalization.
Religious organizations also enjoyed approximately $6.1 billion in state income tax subsidies, along with $1.2 billion of parsonage, and $2.2 billion in the faith-based initiatives subsidy.
Churches in the USA receive approximately $71 billion in tax credits and tax breaks each year, according to the results of new research released on October 16th by the Secular Policy Institute.

While some Catholic officials insisted their affiliates are separate and financially independent, AP found many instances of borrowing and spending among them when dioceses were faced with prior cash crunches. In Philadelphia, for example, the archdiocese received at least $18 million from three affiliates, including a seminary, to fund a compensation program for clergy sex abuse survivors, according to 2019 financial statements.

Cardinals and bishops have broad authority over parishes and the pastors who run them. Church law requires parishes to submit annual financial reports and bishops may require parishes to deposit surplus money with internal banks administered by the diocese.

“The parishioners cannot hire or fire the pastor; that is for the bishop to do,” said Connell, the priest, former accountant and canon lawyer. “Each parish functions as a wholly owned subsidiary or division of a larger corporation, the diocese.”

Bishops acknowledged a concerted effort to tap paycheck funds in a survey by Catholic researchers at Georgetown University. When asked what they had done to address the pandemic’s financial fallout, 95% said their central offices helped parishes apply for paycheck and other aid — the leading response. That topped encouraging parishioners to donate electronically.

After Congress approved the paycheck program, three high-ranking officials in New Hampshire’s Manchester Diocese sent an urgent memo to parishes, schools and affiliated organizations urging them to refrain from layoffs or furloughs until completing their applications. “We are all in this together,” the memo read, adding that diocesan officials were working expeditiously to provide “step by step instructions.”

Paycheck Protection Program funds came through low-interest bank loans, worth up to $10 million each, that the federal government would forgive so long as recipients used the money to cover about two months of wages and operating expenses.

After an initial $659 billion last spring, Congress added another $284 billion in December. With the renewal came new requirements intended to ensure that funds go to businesses that lost money due to the pandemic. Lawmakers also downsized the headcount for applicants to 300 or fewer employees.

A QUESTION OF NEED

In other federal small business loan programs, government help is treated as a last resort.

Applicants must show they couldn’t get credit elsewhere. And those with enough available funds must pay more of their own way to reduce taxpayer subsidies.

Congress didn’t include these tests in the Paycheck Protection Program. To speed approvals, lenders weren’t required to do their usual screening and instead relied on applicants’ self-certifications of need.

The looser standards helped create a run on the first $349 billion in paycheck funding. Small business owners complained that they were shut out, yet dozens of companies healthy enough to be traded on stock exchanges scored quick approval.

As blowback built in April, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned at a news briefing that there would be “severe consequences” for applicants who improperly tapped the program.

“We want to make sure this money is available to small businesses that need it, people who have invested their entire life savings,” Mnuchin said. Program guidelines evolved to stress that participants with access to significant cash probably could not get the assistance “in good faith.”

Mnuchin’s Treasury Department said it would audit loans exceeding $2 million, although federal officials have not said whether they would hold religious organizations and other nonprofits to the same standard of need as businesses.

The headquarters and major departments for more than 40 dioceses received more than $2 million. Every diocese that responded to questions said it would seek to have the government cover the loans, rather than repay the funds.

One diocese receiving a loan over $2 million was Boston. According to the archdiocese’s website, its central ministries office received about $3 million, while its parishes and schools collected about $32 million more.

The archdiocese — along with its parishes, schools and cemeteries — had roughly $200 million in available funds in June 2019, according to its audited financial report. When that fiscal year ended several months into the pandemic, available funds had increased to roughly $233 million.

Nevertheless, spokesman Terrence Donilon cited “ongoing economic pressure” in saying the archdiocese will seek forgiveness for last year’s loans and will apply for additional, new funds during the current round.

Beyond its growing available funds, the archdiocese and its affiliates benefit from other sources of funding. The archdiocese’s “Inspiring Hope” campaign, announced in January, has raised at least $150 million.

And one of its supporting charities — the Catholic Schools Foundation, where Cardinal Sean O’Malley is board chairman — counted more than $33 million in cash and other funds that could be “used for general operations” as of the beginning of the 2020 fiscal year, according to its financial statement.

Despite these resources, the archdiocese closed a half-dozen schools in May and June, often citing revenue losses due to the pandemic. Paycheck protection data show four of those schools collectively were approved for more than $700,000.

The shuttered schools included St. Francis of Assisi in Braintree, a middle-class enclave 10 miles south of Boston, which received $210,000. Parents said they felt blindsided by the closure, announced in June as classes ended.

“It’s like a punch to the gut because that was such a home for so many people for so long,” said Kate Nedelman Herbst, the mother of two children who attended the elementary school.

Along with more than 2,000 other school supporters, Herbst signed a written protest to O’Malley that noted the archdiocese’s robust finances. After O’Malley didn’t reply, parents appealed to the Vatican, this time underscoring the collection of Paycheck Protection Program money.

“It is very hard to reconcile the large sums of money raised by the archdiocese in recent years with this wholesale destruction of the church’s educational infrastructure,” parents wrote.

In December, the Vatican turned down their request to overrule O’Malley. Spokesman Donilon said the decision to close the school “is not being reconsidered.”

Today, the three children of Michael Waterman and his wife, Jeanine, are learning at home. And they still can’t understand why the archdiocese didn’t shift money to help save a school beloved by the faithful.

“What angers us,” Michael Waterman said, “is that we feel like, given the amount of money that the Catholic Church has, they absolutely could have remained open.”

___

Contact AP’s global investigative team at Investigative@ap.org.

Contact the reporters at https://twitter.com/reesedunklin and https://twitter.com/mikerezendes.

___

Contributing to this report were Justin Myers, Randy Herschaft, Rodrique Ngowi, Holbrook Mohr, Jason Dearen and James LaPorta.

https://apnews.com/article/catholic-church-get-aid-investigation-39a404f55c82fea84902cd16f04e37b2

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Trump’s Insurrectionist Riot/Rally Funded By Publix Grocery Heiress & Alex Jones

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, January 30, 2021

https://www.wsj.com/articles/jan-6-rally-funded-by-top-trump-donor-helped-by-alex-jones-organizers-say-11612012063

wsj.com

WSJ News Exclusive

January 6 Rally Funded by Top Trump Donor, Helped by Alex Jones, Organizers Say

by Shalini Ramachandran, Alexandra Berzon and Rebecca Ballhaus
Updated Jan. 30, 2021 1:28 pm ET


The rally in Washington’s Ellipse that preceded the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol was arranged and funded by a small group including a top Trump campaign fundraiser and donor facilitated by far-right show host Alex Jones.

Mr. Jones personally pledged more than $50,000 in seed money for a planned Jan. 6 event in exchange for a guaranteed “top speaking slot of his choice,” according to a funding document outlining a deal between his company and an early organizer for the event.

Mr. Jones also helped arrange for Julie Jenkins Fancelli, a prominent donor to the Trump campaign and heiress to the Publix Super Markets Inc. chain, to commit about $300,000 through a top fundraising official for former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, according to organizers. Her money paid for the lion’s share of the roughly $500,000 rally at the Ellipse where Mr. Trump spoke.

Another far-right activist and leader of the “Stop the Steal” movement, Ali Alexander, helped coordinate planning with Caroline Wren, a fundraising official who was paid by the Trump campaign for much of 2020 and who was tapped by Ms. Fancelli to organize and fund an event on her behalf, organizers said. On social media, Mr. Alexander had targeted Jan. 6 as a key date for supporters to gather in Washington to contest the 2020-election certification results. The week of the rally, he tweeted a flyer for the event saying: “DC becomes FORT TRUMP starting tomorrow on my orders!”

Alex Jones addressed protesters on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6.

Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The Ellipse rally, at which President Trump urged supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol, was lawful and nonviolent. But it served as a jumping-off point for many supporters to head to the Capitol. Mr. Trump has been impeached by the Democrat-led House of Representatives, accused of inciting a mob to storm the Capitol with remarks urging supporters to “fight like hell.”

Few details about the funding and organization of the Ellipse event have previously been revealed. Mr. Jones claimed in a video that he paid for a portion of the event but didn’t offer details.

Messrs. Jones and Alexander had been active in the weeks before the event, calling on supporters to oppose the election results and go to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Mr. Alexander, for instance, tweeted on Dec. 30 about the scheduled Jan. 6 count for lawmakers to certify the Electoral College vote at the Capitol, writing: “If they do this, everyone can guess what me and 500,000 others will do to that building.”

Julie Jenkins Fancelli, shown in 2019, donated more than $980,000 in the 2020 election cycle to a joint account for the Trump campaign and Republican Party, records show.

Photo: Barry Friedman/LKLNDNOW

A hodgepodge of different pro-Trump groups were planning various events on Jan. 6. Several of them, led by the pro-Trump Women for America First, helped coordinate the Ellipse event; another group splintered off to lead a rally the night before, at which Mr. Jones ended up speaking, and the group organized by Mr. Alexander planned a protest outside the Capitol building.

Mr. Jones, who has publicized discredited conspiracy theories, has hosted leaders of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, two extremist groups prominent at the riot, on his popular radio and internet video shows.

Mr. Jones declined to respond to requests for comment. In a statement, Mr. Alexander said Stop the Steal’s motto is Read the rest of this entry »

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The Chinese Own Smithfield, And Germans Own Krispy Kreme. Which American Corporation Will Sell Out Next??

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, January 29, 2021

So… today, this morning, I spent about $10 with Krispy Kreme.

If you’re a Southerner reading this, you know what that means.

If you’re not a Southerner, or are otherwise uninformed, Krispy Kreme is the North Carolina-heeadquartered company that has for years made the most delightfully light, fluffy, airy doughnuts.

They’re NOT at all like Dunkin’ Doughnuts, which are heavy, doughy, bread-cake like doughnuts. There is NO comparison whatsoever.

It’s like the difference between a Model-T, and a F1. Even though they’re both cars, they’re worlds apart.

But what I wanted to focus upon is a portion of the brief, pleasant exchange I had with the clerk in the store.

I had decided to stop in as I was returning home from taking Queenie to the veterinarian’s office for ACL surgery today. As I was nearing the area, the thought “doughnuts” occurred to me, and I knew the KK was nearby. As I drew closer, another thought occurred to me: The locally-owned-and-hometown-operated doughnut shop a little further down the road.

Not wanting to drive any further, even though it wasn’t far, per se, I opted for the nearest shop, which was the KK.

Even though I’m not a “shopaholic,” nor adherent, nor promoter of “retail therapy,” I’m fortunate to live in an area that’s conveniently located to many different shops and retailers. Some folks have to drive quite a distance to do so almost anything, whereas I do not. So, I count my blessings, in a manner of speaking.

I had donned a facemask before I walked in, looked around briefly – I was the only customer present – and Read the rest of this entry »

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A Simple Pandemic Economy Fix: Give 10.25M People $40,000

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 28, 2021

Give money to everybody who needs money.

It’s just that simple.

How much, how many?

10,252,500 people

$30,000 cash

$10,000 in their FICA/SECA accounts

That’s a total of $40,000 per person.

The Quick-N-Easy math looks like this:

We’ll use 10,252,500 unemployed people (discussion, rationale, and calculations for that figure are later in this entry)

10,252,500 unemployed people
x $30,000 = $307,575,000,000 ($307.5 billion)

10,252,500 unemployed people
x $10,000 = $102,525,000,000 ($102.5 billion)

$307,575,000,000
+ $102,525,000,000 = $410,100,000,000 ($410.1 billion)

10,252,500 unemployed people
x $40,000 = $410,100,000,000 ($410 billion)

That’s MUCH LESS than the $1.9 TRILLION proposed.

Plus, the $10,000 FICA/SECA money would be for their employers, a $10,000 tax deduction!

Why do something like that?

First, it puts a significant amount of money (delivered in a lump sum) into the hands of hurting people. And they need that help DESPERATELY. It keeps them from being evicted/foreclosed upon, it keeps the lights turned on, and water and gas turned on, etc.

Second, it significantly helps employers, many which are also hurting, and need help. In the case of small businesses, many owners are employees of their companies, so they would also get $30,000 checks. PLUS, they would also get $10,000 checks (per se), which would be credited to the company’s books as a deduction in operating expenses, thereby increasing their profit (perhaps they’ll use it to pay down long-term debt). How they use the value of the deduction is entirely up to them, but it (the money) MUST BE PAID TO THE EMPLOYEE’S FICA ACCOUNT. In fact, the mechanics of the transaction are Read the rest of this entry »

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Arizona Voters Approve Adult Recreational Use of Cannabis

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, January 23, 2021

In November, Arizonans voted overwhelmingly to legalize recreational sales of cannabis to adults.

By a margin of 653,982 votes, or 50.2113%, Arizona voters in that state’s General Election approved Arizona Proposition 207, known as the “Smart and Safe Arizona Act.”

The state’s fiscal analysis stated that “Annual state and local sales tax collections on these purchases may reach $88 million in the next several years. The initiative also requires a one-time transfer from the Medical Marijuana Fund of $45 million for the Department of Health Services, a university tuition program, and an impaired driving program.”

Among other provisions, as stated in its purpose, the “Act permits limited possession, transfer, cultivation, and use of marijuana (as defined) by adults 21 years old or older; protects employer and property owner rights; bans smoking in public places; imposes a 16% excise tax on marijuana to fund public safety, community colleges, infrastructure, and public health and community programs; authorizes state and local regulations for the sale and production of marijuana by a limited number of licensees; requires impairment to the slightest degree for marijuana DUls; transfers monies from the Medical Marijuana Fund; permits expungement of some marijuana violations; and prescribes penalties for violations.”

Distribution of taxes collected upon its sale would be as follows:
• 33.0% to community colleges
• 31.4% to local law enforcement and fire departments
• 25.4% to the state and local transportation programs
• 10.0% to public health and criminal justice programs
• 0.2% to the Attorney General for enforcement

The state estimates that “based on a projected tax base of $1 billion, total state and local tax collections would be $254 million, including $166 million to the Smart and Safe Arizona Fund.”

“In its Medium-Series Population Projections, the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) estimates that Arizona’s population will have reached 7.59 million by 2023. Given the $137 estimate for per capita sales, the OEO population estimate implies Arizona would have $1.04 billion of recreational marijuana sales in 2023.”

$254,391,600

Their revenue and sales estimates are based upon western states experiences, and they wrote that, “Arizona marijuana sales may increase further after the third year. States with more than 3 years of sales data have experienced continued growth in years 4 and 5. In Colorado, Oregon, and Washington recreational marijuana sales grew by a weighted average of 20.5% in year 4. In Colorado, the only state with 5 full years of data, sales grew by another 11.2% in year 5. We do not attempt, however, to project past the third year due to the speculative nature of long-run forecasting.”

The Arizona analysis also examines the cost associated with expungement, meaning the legal elimination of any criminal record associated with whatever record is being expunged. They cited a Pew Charitable Trusts analysis in November 2017, which stated in part that, “California only had 1,506 applications for expungement its first year of legalization and Oregon saw only 1,206 petitions combined between 2015-2017. Furthermore, the 192,000 estimate includes all convictions for marijuana possession, whereas the initiative provides the expungement option only to those who were convicted of marijuana possession of 2.5 ounces or less.”

They also note as well, that “the initiative does provide a revenue source for DPS administrative costs. The initiative authorizes DPS to collect a “reasonable fee determined by the Director” for costs to “correct the petitioner’s criminal history record” unless the individual is indigent.”

Control, or rather, elimination of the illicit black market is also a strong motivator for government in the legalization, taxation, and regulation of cannabis, especially and particularly for Adult Recreational Use. To that end, Arizona’s fiscal analysts wrote that, “If the limited number of retail locations authorized under the initiative is insufficient to meet demand, then current marijuana users may be more likely to continue to purchase illegally or from medical dispensaries, potentially decreasing the size of the legal market.”

Elimination of the illicit black market was also a very strong motivating factor in Oklahoma’s recent liberalization of cannabis laws, particularly and especially for medical use. See Oklahoma Has Become A Free Market Utopia For Weed,” published 11/2/2020 for more details. Of course as well, an “unintended consequence” for ALL states which have liberalized their cannabis laws, is an INCREASE in private enterprise, and entrepreneurship – the veritable “holy grail” of most Republicans… and Democrats, if folks would be honest about the matter.

Arizona’s fiscal analysts also acknowledge a very important, yet almost-overlooked matter: It is of local regulation. They write that, “the proposition grants Read the rest of this entry »

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Texas Banana Republican Senator Ted Cruz is a Hypocrite of the First Order

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, January 18, 2021

And a dipshit, too.

Jack Dorsey could’ve shut him – and every other Banana Republican – up with the following phrase:

Manhattan Community Access Corp. et al. v. Halleck et al.

What’s that?

For the ignorant – and, that’s most people – it’s a SCOTUS ruling handed down June 17, 2019 that ruled that, “The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment prohibits only governmental, not private, abridgment of speech.”

In other words, Censorship laws DO NOT apply to the Private Sector.

Repeating:

Anti-Censorship Laws DO NOT Apply To Private Enterprise.

Thank the so-called “conservative” Supremes who handed down that ruling. They are: KAVANAUGH, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, ALITO, and GORSUCH, JJ., joined.

So, Mr. Dorsey, and every other private company does NOT have to abide by anti-censorship laws.

Furthermore, what in the hell is Ted Cruz doing meddling, trying to tell Twitter how to run their business? That jacked-up twat probably doesn’t even own one share of Twitter.

What fucking hypocrite that son-of-a-bitch is!

I’d have loved to have seen Mr. Dorsey ask Cruz that question – “Are you telling me how to run my business?” – and follow it up with this one:
“Exactly what laws are you accusing me, and/or my company, of breaking?”

Of course, the obvious answer is ‘none.’

And remember: This is Political Theater for Banana Republican Ted Cruz, who feigns not-so-righteous indignation on behalf of those who would vote for him in future elections, Presidential, or not. And chances are, we’ll see that Texas turd make a Presidential run for the border in 2024.


The entire Committee hearing may be viewed on C-SPAN via the following link:
https://www.c-span.org/video/?476686-1/social-media-content-moderation

Before the Senate Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Wednesday, 28 October 2020 (excerpted)

Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX: I have concerns about behavior — the behavior of both of their companies. Facebook is Read the rest of this entry »

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Anti-Censorship Laws DO NOT Apply To Private Enterprise

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

For all the hoopla being raised by Banana Republicans parading as GOP types, including the Loser in Chief, about the decision Twitter made to cut him (and others) off from their private non-governmental service, and who are calling it “censorship,” the United States Supreme Court has some news for you:

Censorship laws DO NOT apply to the Private Sector.

Period.

If you don’t like it, take it up with those who decided it: KAVANAUGH, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, ALITO, and GORSUCH, JJ., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and KAGAN, JJ., joined.

The case was Argued February 25, 2019 — Decided June 17, 2019, and named Manhattan Community Access Corp. et al. v. Halleck et al.

In a Certiorari to The United States Court Of Appeals For The Second Circuit, No. 17–1702, the court ruled that “The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment prohibits only governmental, not private, abridgment of speech,” and held that MNN (private nonprofit corporation, petitioner Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN)) was not a state actor subject to the First Amendment.

The court wrote further, that, “A private entity may qualify as a state actor when, as relevant here, the entity exercises “powers traditionally exclusively re-served to the State.” The precedent for that decision was rendered in the case Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Co., 419 U. S. 345, 352.

“The Court has stressed that “very few” functions fall into that category. Flagg Bros., Inc. v. Brooks, 436 U. S. 149, 158.”

In the decision, the court wrote in part that,

“Under the state-action doctrine as it has been articulated and applied by our precedents, we conclude that operation of public access channels on a cable system is not a traditional, exclusive public function. Moreover, a private entity such as MNN who opens its property for speech by others is not transformed by that fact alone into a state actor. In operating the public access channels, MNN is a private actor, not a state actor, and MNN therefore is not subject to First Amendment constraints on its editorial discretion. We reverse in relevant part the judgment of the Second Circuit, and we remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

The background facts of the case which formed the basis of the suit are fairly straight-forward, and reads as follows:

“DeeDee Halleck and Jesus Papoleto Melendez produced public access programming in Manhattan. They made a film about MNN’s alleged neglect of the East Harlem community. Halleck submitted the film to MNN for airing on MNN’s public access channels, and MNN later televised the film. Afterwards, MNN fielded multiple complaints about the film’s content. In response, MNN temporarily suspended Halleck from using the public access channels. Halleck and Melendez soon became embroiled in another dispute with MNN staff. In the wake of that dispute, MNN ultimately suspended Halleck and Melendez from all MNN services and facilities. Halleck and Melendez then sued MNN, among other parties, in Federal District Court. The two producers claimed that MNN violated their First Amendment free-speech rights when MNN restricted their access to the public access channels because of the content of their film.

“MNN moved to dismiss the producers’ First Amendment claim on the ground that MNN is not a state actor and therefore is not subject to First Amendment restrictions on its editorial discretion. The District Court agreed with MNN and dismissed the producers’ First Amendment claim.

“The Second Circuit reversed in relevant part. 882 F. 3d 300, 308 (2018). In the majority opinion authored by Judge Newman and joined by Judge Lohier, the court stated that the public access channels in Manhattan are a public forum for purposes of the First Amendment. Reasoning that “public forums are usually operated by governments,” the court concluded that MNN is a state actor subject to First Amendment constraints. Id., at 306–307. Judge Lohier added a concurring opinion, explaining that MNN also qualifies as a state actor for the independent reason that “New York City delegated to MNN the traditionally public function of administering and regulating speech in the public forum of Manhattan’s public access channels.” Id., at 309.

“Judge Jacobs dissented in relevant part, opining that MNN is not a state actor. He reasoned that a private entity’s operation of an open forum for speakers does not render the host entity a state actor. Judge Jacobs further stated that the operation of public access channels is not a traditional, exclusive public function.

“We granted certiorari to resolve disagreement among the Courts of Appeals on the question whether private operators of public access cable channels are state actors subject to the First Amendment. 586 U. S. __ (2018). Compare 882 F. 3d 300 (case below), with Wilcher v. Akron, 498 F. 3d 516 (CA6 2007); and Alliance for Community Media v. FCC, 56 F. 3d 105 (CADC 1995).”

Certiorari [pronounced “sir-sha-rar-ee”] is a writ [a written order issued by a court] seeking review of a lower court decision by a higher court.

The court wrote also that, Read the rest of this entry »

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Kelly Loeffler Received Over $3M In Farm Subsidies… And Sits On The Agriculture Committee

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Blessed are those who have, for they shall be given more.

That’s not a genuine Bible verse, by the way. And if you’re any kind of decently well-read individual, with more than a perfunctory, or minimal knowledge of the Judeo-Christian collection of holy writings collectively known as the Bible, you would know that already.

And by that same token, of being any kind of decently well-read individual, you would also know that there is an eerie parallel to a saying that Jesus of Nazareth made about a related matter – the Parable of the Talents – as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. A parable, of course, is a moralizing tale, a story meant to illustrate some matter, and to point out a wrong doing, or type of injustice in an unobtrusive, easy-to-understand manner.

We’re going to get to Georgia’s appointed Republican Senator whose net worth of $500M is BY FAR the wealthiest member of Congress in just a moment, but first you need some background for understanding.

Woodcut from Historiae Celebriores Veteris Testamenti Iconibus Representatae — dated to 1712 — depicts the Parable of the Talents as told by Jesus of Nazareth, in Matthew 25:14–30. Two men bring the money that was entrusted to them back to their master, while a third man searches for his money outside.

The story states that, in preparation for a journey of some duration, an owner/master entrusted and distributed his money to his 3 servants. The unspoken hope, or expectation those days, is that, upon his return, they would have increased the portion with which they were entrusted and charged.

To one, he gave he gave 5 talents (a monetary measurement), to another he gave 2, and to the third, he gave 1 talent. Upon his return, the first two who received 5, and 2, respectively, reported that they’d doubled the money. The third did not, and rather, reported that he buried the money in the ground, and had not gained anything. Upon hearing that news, the owner became enraged, called that servant lazy and wicked, fired him, then ordered that single talent to be taken from him and given to the one with 10.

That’s an important point, which you’ll see later, why.

Jesus of Nazareth, who was telling the story, made a moral assessment, and drew a conclusion based upon the actions of that one who did not return a profit, and reportedly said, “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

While the story is simply told, the meaning behind it is uncertain, though there have been many sermons preached about the tale. And yet, the audience hearing that parable then, in the era in which is was told, would have interpreted it quite differently from today’s audience, according to Dr. Richard L. Rohrbaugh, STD, Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Religious Studies at Lewis and Clark College, whose primary scholarly pursuit was establishing proper historical and cultural contexts for Biblical texts.

Dr. Rohrbaugh said that, in the era in which the story was first told, the audience would have understood that the “profit” was made through the exploitative abuse of others, and that the third servant was the one which would have been considered honorable by the standard of the day. Thus, that interpretation of the parable, would mean that the first two servants were shameful, instead of the third. When asked about the matter, Dr. Rohrbaugh said in part that,

“[G]iven the “limited good” outlook of ancient Mediterranean cultures, seeking “more” was considered morally wrong. Because the pie was “limited” and already all distributed, anyone getting “more” meant someone else got less. Thus, honorable people did not try to get more, and those who did were automatically considered thieves: To have gained, to have accumulated more than one started with, is to have taken the share of someone else.”

As he explained in the Biblical Archaeology Society, “In the ancient world, greedy people who did not want to get accused of profiting at someone else’s expense – which was considered shameful – would delegate their business to slaves, who were held to a different standard.” Dr. Rohrbaugh explained that the reasoning was that, “Shameful, even greedy, behavior could be condoned in slaves because slaves had no honor nor any expectation of it.”

Again, in the parable, the master Read the rest of this entry »

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David Perdue wrote a letter asking the POTUS to import cheap foreign labor.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, December 15, 2020

If you want to know what a person will do, simply look at their past.

That’s a generally good rule to observe, and that principle is found in practically every activity of human life – even in politics.

So, let’s examine Georgia’s Banana Republican Senator David Perdue, who was formerly Dollar General CEO from 2003 to 2007 of the Goodlettsville, TN-based business.

David Perdue has been selling out Americans for a long time. As long as it made a fast buck for him, or whoever hired him, he was okay with that.

A little-known fact about Perdue – but one well worth remembering, and publicizing – who is campaigning against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff (from whom he also hides and refuses to debate), is that when Perdue was Dollar General’s CEO, he was significantly responsible for driving manufacture of most of the company’s merchandise out of America, to Chinese factories. In a 2004 conference call with investors, he said in part that, “We have opened a sourcing office in Hong Kong, and I can tell you we have had a dramatic impact on our business by having direct contact with our manufacturers.”

Of course, Perdue Read the rest of this entry »

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Guess Who Doesn’t Pay State Income Taxes?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, December 11, 2020

Let’s get some perspective on the unimaginably massive amount of wealth just ONE of these three men (in the article below) have.

Jeff Bezos, Founder, and CEO of Amazon dot com is, as of this writing, the wealthiest man in the world, bar none. With an estimated net worth of $183.3 billion it’s often difficult to get a grasp on the amount of money that is. So, lets give it the good ol’ college try.

$183,000,000,000 –– it’s sometimes good to simply see the number of zeros in the figure.

If, from this point forward Mr. Bezos NEVER MADE ANY MORE MONEY, and spent $100,000 every day, it would take 5013 years to spend it all.

So, let’s up the ante… SIGNIFICANTLY.

Again, using the same premise, NEVER MAKING ANY MORE MONEY, and spent $1,000,000 ($1 million) every day, it would take 50 years. Mr. Bezos is presently aged 56. And, given the current life expectancy for men in the United States – especially, and particularly men of wealth, who have the finest of everything, including health care – he could reasonably be expected to live to age 86, or 30 more years. That’s according to figures from the Social Security Administration. So clearly, spending at that rate – $1,000,000/day – he couldn’t spend it all in his lifetime.

But, let’s examine it one more way.

If he were to Read the rest of this entry »

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Fraud, Waste, and Abuse on Full Display at DeVos’s Department of Education

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, December 4, 2020

In the business world, the acronym “OPM” stands for “Other Peoples’ Money.” But at the Federal level of the United States Government, it stands for “Office of Personnel Management.”

Although Amway multi-millionairess Betsy DeVoss is an employee of the United States Government as the Secretary of Education – an ironic, even hypocritical position for her, since she’s never attended, even as much as set foot in, a Public School in her lifetime, even as Secretary – it’s painfully obvious that she continues to operate by the OPM business principle.

She continues to be resoundingly criticized by many, not all of whom are her political compatriots. If there could be said to be a “guiding light” to her first-ever tenure as a public servant in the capacity which she’s occupied for the past 4 years, it’s more for us, less for you. And in this case, the “us” refers to her wealthy pals, and anyone with a harebrained idea parading under the banner of “choice” and “education.”

As an aside, it’s ironic that Banana Republicans oppose choice in so many areas, especially healthcare; they don’t want a Federal Option for health insurance, they don’t want a woman to have autonomy over her own body to choose to carry or not, etc.

But as “choice” pertains to DeVos and Company, it refers to so-called “charter” schools – the educational “Flavor of the Day” among Banana Republicans. Simply put, charter schools are private, often for-profit and Wall Street-traded entities that compete for limited public tax dollars against Public Schools. Think of them as leeches, mosquitos, and other blood-suckers that little-by-little siphon off the lifeblood from the host upon which they feast. Not quite the scenario of pigs at a trough, but very close enough, because if you attempt to get in between them and their food source, they’ll kill you.

Again, choice is good for them, but bad for you.

And that’s but one example where the hypocrisy of the Banana Republican party comes in.

What you would think if I were to tell you that an entity with no experience in education, was denied local approval, applied for, and was granted well over a million tax dollars to open a charter school, but it never opened, and they kept all the money?

Would you be okay with that?

What about this?

From the 2006/7 through the 2013/14 school year, over 537 prospective charter schools that NEVER EDUCATED EVEN ONE STUDENT, NEVER OPENED, yet received well over $45 million tax dollars?

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks October 15, 2020 at Phoenix International Academy in Arizona.

Would you be okay with that?

What about a charter “school” that never opened even for one day in Pennsylvania, yet was granted well over $30 million by Secretary Betsy DeVos?

Would you be cool with that?

It all happened under Betsy DeVos’s oversight.

Enormous fraud, waste, and abuse is being perpetuated before our very eyes, and yet, we’re told bad is good, sweet is sour, abuse is good, taxes are bad, and government is corrupt by the very ones corrupting it, and lying to our faces about it all.

Read on.


WashingtonPost.com

How A Soccer Club Won A $1.2 Million Grant From Devos’s Education Department To Open A Charter School

by Valerie Strauss
December 3, 2020 at 6:00 a.m. EST

Here’s a new, rather remarkable story about charter school grants recently awarded by the Education Department — including one for more than $1 million that went to a soccer club in Pennsylvania that had no experience running a school.

This is one of a number of pieces I have run in recent years about the Federal Charter School Program, which has invested close to $4 billion in these schools since it began giving grants in 1995.

Charter schools, a key feature of the “school choice” movement, are financed by the public but privately operated. About 6 percent of U.S. schoolchildren attend charter schools, with California having the most charter schools and the most charter students.

Charters had bipartisan support for years, but a growing number of Democrats have pulled back from the movement, citing the fiscal impact on school districts and repeated scandals in the sector.

Charter supporters say the 30-year-old movement offers important alternatives to traditional public schools, which educate the vast majority of U.S. students, and that the movement is still learning. Opponents say there is little public accountability over many charters and that they drain resources from traditional districts.

Research shows student outcomes are, overall, largely the same in charter and traditional public schools, although there are failures and exemplars in both.

This piece, like a number of earlier ones on charters, was written by Carol Burris, a former New York high school principal who serves as executive director of the Network for Public Education, a nonprofit group that advocates for public education.

Burris, who opposes charter schools, was named the 2010 Educator of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State, and in 2013, the National Association of Secondary School Principals named her the New York State High School Principal of the Year.

I asked the Education Department to comment on the grant to the soccer club, about which Burris writes, but did not get an immediate response. I will add it if I do.

By Carol Burris

In late September 2020, amid the covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education awarded nearly $6 million to five organizations to open new charter schools. One of the five awardees was “The All Football Club, Lancaster Lions Corporation,” located in Lancaster, Pa. The club had no experience running either a private school or a charter school, yet nevertheless pitched the AFCLL Academy Charter School for a grant from the federal Charter School Program (CSP).

The CSP awarded the football club $1,260,750 to be spent within its first five years, even though their submitted application only received 70 of 115 possible points by reviewers — a failing grade of 61 percent. And the club did not have permission from the local school board to actually open the school.

That award of tax dollars to an unauthorized charter school shines a light on how the federal CSP is driven by an ideology with only one aim — to push taxpayer dollars into the hands of would-be private charter operators, even if the school appears doomed to fail from the start.

As the Network for Public Education explained in two recent reports on the CSP program, the application reviewers, who are all Read the rest of this entry »

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