Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Amy Coney Barrett: Will she follow the law of recusal?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 15, 2020

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the President’s nominee to be a Supreme Court Justice, has dodged the question of recusal on any potential case which might come before her which would be brought by the President on any matter pertaining to the 2020 General Election. She dodged because she replied that she would follow the law of recusal.

She said in part that, “I commit to you to fully and faithfully applying the law of recusal. … I will apply the factors that other justices have before me in determining whether the circumstances require my recusal or not. But I can’t offer a legal conclusion right now about the outcome of the decision I would reach.”

When asked about the law of recusal, she said in part that, “I can’t offer an opinion on recusal without short-circuiting the entire process.”

When specifically asked about election cases, she stated to the effect that it wasn’t a question she could answer “in the abstract.”

Obviously, she is aware of the law’s requirements, but what is concerning is if she will obey (follow) the law.

There could be an argument made that she has no interest in the case, per se, at least insofar as she was not a member of the President’s administration, nor had she done any work for him.

There are several disconcerting aspects of this matter, none of which concern her judicial temperament, nor her judicial philosophy, nor her rulings. First is that she has allowed herself to be used by the GOP and the President to force her, as their nominee, through the confirmation process in the midst of an ongoing election. Already, millions of people have voted.

Secondarily is Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s actions, in conjunction with the President’s efforts, to rush the nominee through the process. Rushed things are rarely done with high quality, or long-term thoughtfulness. Further, that “Moscow” Mitch McConnell has deliberately stalled, or “killed” well over 400 bills from the House of Representatives is prima facie evidence of his contempt for the Constitution, and legislative process. And that he has similarly refused to act upon any bill which would first, and foremost, deal with the matter of the coronavirus, aka COVID-19, and the needs of the people for their health, their needs for economic sustenance, and more, is again, hard-core evidence not merely of a lack of caring, but is an abandonment of his responsibilities to the American people, not merely to the citizens of Kentucky whose interests he is supposed to represent.

To the extent that Amy Coney Barrett participates in that wretched process, she is complicit in it all. She has, in effect, become a political tool, and is doing so knowingly.

Were she to have requested a delay of her hearings until after the election – a delay of a few mere weeks – she would likely have not garnered such opposition. For she is, in my considered estimation, more than a well-qualified jurist, and would be a good addition to the United States Supreme Court. Even 88 University of Notre Dame faculty members wrote an open letter to her, stating that it was “vital” that she “issue a public statement calling for a halt to your nomination process until after the November presidential election.”

In the letter, those faculty members also wrote in part that, “The rushed nature of your nomination process, which you certainly recognize as an exercise in raw power politics, may effectively deprive the American people of a voice in selecting the next Supreme Court justice,” and stated that “you can refuse to be party to such maneuvers. We ask that you honor the democratic process and insist the hearings be put on hold until after the voters have made their choice.”

And goodness knows, we need more legal diversity on the nation’s highest court, and I don’t mean to refer to sex, ethnicity, or any physical factor – I mean to refer to the schools of law which the nominees have attended. And as she herself has noted,

“I would be the first mother of school-age children to serve on the Court. I would be the first Justice to join the Court from the Seventh Circuit in 45 years. And I would be the only sitting Justice who didn’t attend law school at Harvard or Yale. I am confident that Notre Dame will hold its own, and maybe I could even teach them a thing or two about football.”

Would she be my pick?

Perhaps not, but again, it is the rushed nature of this event which is most exceedingly distasteful. Hypocrisy has neither a pleasing aroma, nor taste.

Finally, there are other matters concerning the Supreme Court which desperately need to be addressed, which undoubtedly will not have an opportunity to be discussed simply because of the Senate Majority Leader’s deliberately destructive tactics to “kill” legislation.

The verbatim transcript of her remarks has not yet been prepared by the Congressional Record. When it is ready, it will appear here:
https://www.congress.gov/event/116th-congress/senate-event/328163?s=1&r=8

Hearings to examine the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, of Indiana, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. 116th Congress (2019-2020)

Committee: Senate Judiciary
Related Items: PN2252
Date: Tuesday October 13, 2020 (9:00 AM EDT)
Location: 216 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
Website: https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/

And so, for your benefit, here is the law of recusal to which she referred. You can, and should, read it for yourself. It’s not difficult to understand, and is straightforward, without mumbo jumbo jargon.

28 USC 455: Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate judge
Text contains those laws in effect on October 12, 2020

From Title 28-JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE

PART I-ORGANIZATION OF COURTS
CHAPTER 21-GENERAL PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO COURTS AND JUDGES

Jump To:
Source Credit
Amendments
Change of Name
Effective Date

§455. Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate judge

(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

(b) He shall also disqualify himself in the following circumstances:

(1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding;

(2) Where in private practice he served as lawyer in the matter in controversy, or a lawyer with whom he previously practiced law served during such association as a lawyer concerning the matter, or the judge or such lawyer has been a material witness concerning it;

(3) Where he has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as Read the rest of this entry »

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More American Problems

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The sorts of problems described in the story linked below could be resolved very simply by Congress, which has the authority to regulate election law, but has chosen to abdicate the responsibility, failed to exercise that right, and allowed chaos and pandemonium to ensue by allowing at least 50 different laws, rules, regulations, and more.

By establishing a National Standard Election and Uniform Voting Law which would cover ALL aspects of voting, from registration, to identification, to hours of operation and places of polls, to dates, times, and types of voting methods used, ALL those questions and more would be settled, and uniform nationwide, from state to state, and sea to shining sea.

From Maine to Minnesota, Mississippi to Maryland, Michigan to Arizona, and from Florida to Washington, Georgia to Oregon, and California to Texas to the Carolinas, and all points in between — ONE LAW to govern them all.

We would then begin to have a truly UNITED STATES!

 


2020 Election Faces Unprecedented Amount Of Litigation

https://www.npr.org/2020/09/22/914431067/step-aside-election-2000-this-years-election-may-be-the-most-litigated-yet

Hundreds of lawsuits are already swirling around mail-in voting as campaigns, parties and outside groups try to sort issues both basic and technical — questions such as:

“Must a ballot be Read the rest of this entry »

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OSHA Fines Chinese-Owned Smithfield Foods For Causing Employees’ COVID-19 Infection

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 13, 2020

Human life is cheap to Corporate America.

U.S. Department of Labor Cites Smithfield Packaged Meats Corp. For Failing to Protect Employees from Coronavirus

SIOUX FALLS, SD – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Smithfield Packaged Meats Corp. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for failing to protect employees from exposure to the coronavirus. OSHA proposed a penalty of $13,494, the maximum allowed by law.

Agency: Occupational Safety & Health Administration
Date: September 10, 2020
Release Number: 20-1684-NAT

With a paltry, even laughable, mere $13,494 on the line, it’s not even a good slap on the wrist. They make that in a fraction of a second of business operations.

Remember: Smithfield Foods has NOT BEEN an American company since selling out to the Chinese in 2013. Good old fashioned Corporate American Wall $treet greed sold out America and Smithfield to China.

Wan Long, RIGHT, Chairman and CEO of WH Group, formerly called Shuanghui International, shakes hands with Charles Larry Pope, President and CEO of Smithfield Foods, at a press conference of WH Group in Hong Kong, China, 14 April 2014.
Two subsidiaries of Henan Shuanghui Investment and Development Co have gained access to the Russian market, after its parent company — WH Group Ltd, the world’s largest pork producer— acquired US pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc and bought a stake in Campofrio Food Group SA of Spain, the largest pan-European packaged meat products company, last year. The two Heilongjiang-based companies — Wangkui Shuanghui Beidahuang Food Co and Heilongjiang Baoquanling Shuanghui Food Industry Co — got the official nod after their production facilities and products were examined and assessed by officials from Russia’s meat products watchdog, the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, in August, Shuanghui Development said on its website. To widen its import market for meat, the Russian government agreed to import meat products from five Chinese suppliers by the end of August, indicating the nation has taken a flexible strategy to balance the supply and demand relationship, while the US and its European allies are trying to squeeze the country’s trade space in the world market.

And the corporate masters are STILL selling out the people. Just read their laughable response later down. They’re actually protesting the poor token of a penalty.

Seriously. They are!

Even the right-tilting tabloid New York Daily News owned by Rupert Murdoch, has written about the fractional pittance which has been assessed upon the corporation by the OSHA.

Billion-dollar meatpacking companies fined total of $30,000 after 10 worker COVID deaths, 1,600 infections

By Joseph Wilkinson, New York Daily News, September 12, 2020 at 10:12 PM

And Congress has the power to act. However, with Moscow Mitch misleading the Senate, there’ll nothing be done about anything the House sends to that traitorous rich bastard.

WH Group, formerly known as Shuanghui International, bought the venerable American company known for their hams since its 1936 inception in Smithfield, Virginia, for $4.7 billion in 2013. In fact, it was the region’s Native Americans who taught the Paleface settlers to the area the unique curing process they’d created well over 500 years ago, and which increased in popularity as time went on.

After the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) claimed that the sale would not endanger national security, Smithfield then became a subsidiary of that publicly traded Chinese corporation. However, as Michigan’s Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow told PBS in 2014 “Food security IS National Security.”

I’ve written about that problem previously, on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 as:

Smithfield Foods Chinese Pork Project is a Wall Street Happy Meal Deal: American Prices Will Increase

More than anything, it looks like the Loser in Chief is in cahoots with the Chinese.

I mean, after all, if he’s as big and bad on them as he claims to be, this fine would be 100x time amount to start with.

Yes, that’d be USD$1,349,400.

It’s HIGH TIME for a 75/25 rule of law!

Simply put, it goes like this:

75% of any businesses’ ownership MUST be American to enjoy a 25% corporate tax rate.

Presently, the Federal Corporate Tax Tate is set at 21%. Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the so-called “Trump tax cuts” which, true to course, benefited only the wealthy), the tax rate was 35%. I have little doubt that the law will be repealed, thus increasing the corporate tax rate.

There MUST be a punishment exacted, and penalty paid for corporations which despitefully exploit their domestic American existence!

What’s more, Congress could, and should, also enact a 60/40 rule of law, which, again, simply stated, is that for companies which are employee-owned, they must be at least 60% owned by employees – either direct, indirect (trust), or hybrid – in order to enjoy certain additional tax benefits not available to other corporate-owned businesses. By so doing, it would encourage employee ownership of businesses.

Corporate alienation and isolation from the day-to-day lives of their employees and the Average American is highly problematic, and such a rule would go a long way toward readjusting in a positive manner the lopsided and skewed income and wealth gap in the United States.

And much to my surprise, I have just learned that Corey Rosen, Founder of the National Center for Employee Ownership, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that promotes employee stock ownership, has written an OpEd published in The Hill which states in part that,

“Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), one of the most conservative members of Congress, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), one of the most liberal, have both introduced sweeping proposals to broaden employee ownership in the U.S. That surprising fact testifies to just how practical—and urgent—this idea is.”

Mr. Rosen also pointed to 2019 research by Rutgers University which found in part, that “employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) enable families to significantly increase their assets, shrinking—though not eliminating—gender and racial wealth gaps,” and wrote that “ESOP companies helped employees gain a better understanding not just of corporate financial issues—most ESOPs have some form of open book management—but also personal financial planning. Many companies offered employees an increased voice in how their work was organized, providing a level of personal agency lacking in most jobs.”

How China purchased a cut of America’s prime pork industry (RevealNews.org)


OSHA fines Smithfield Foods $13,494 for not protecting South Dakota workers from COVID-19, faces backlash from company and workers – Agweek

Written By: Jeremy Fugleberg
Sep 10th 2020 – 1pm.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined Smithfield Foods $13,494 for failing to protect employees at its Sioux Falls meatpacking plant from exposure to COVID-19, OSHA announced Thursday, Sept. 10, and both the company and the union that represents plant works are objecting to the decision.

The workplace safety agency said the Smithfield fine was the maximum allowed by law for the single violation it found at the plant, which for a time was one of the largest COVID-19 hotspots in the nation. OSHA cited the company for one violation of failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that can cause death or serious harm.

A COVID-19 outbreak at the plant in March and April sickened 1,294 employees and killed four, OSHA said. It also sickened hundreds of family members and other close contacts to workers.

“Employers must quickly implement appropriate measures to protect their workers’ safety and health,” OSHA Sioux Falls Area Director Sheila Stanley said in a news release. “Employers must meet their obligations and take the necessary actions to prevent the spread of coronavirus at their worksite.”

The OSHA fine is “wholly without merit” and Smithfield Foods will contest it, said Keira Lombardo, the Virginia-based company’s executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Condition Is Our Condition In?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now, the GOP wants to stop it all.

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

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

In reply, Madam Speaker Pelosi said,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Congressional Apportionment & Illegal Aliens

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 24, 2020

Mo Brooks is Alabama’s 5th Congressional District Republican Representative.

Earlier yesterday, Alabama’s 5th Congressional District Representative Morris Jackson “Mo” Brooks appeared on the NPR program On Point.

His appearance was in reference to a Federal lawsuit in which he, and the State of Alabama (through its Attorney General Steve Marshall), are plaintiffs, which raised a question about enumeration, and apportionment.¹

(Read the lawsuit here: State of AL & Mo Brooks v US Census Bureau)

Specifically, the state is concerned that they might lose a seat in reapportionment – along with the Federal dollars that accompany it – because of concern that other states might increase their apportionment of the 435 Members of the House of Representatives.

Now, if you think about it, that’s ironic, if not outright hypocritical, because Alabama is a significant recipient of government largess, aka “tax dollars” more so, than they send in. In other words, Alabama is a welfare recipient state. And welfare is something anathema to GOPers.

But it’s not as if Alabama hasn’t been shortchanged before. The “Alabama Paradox,” which interestingly – and, again ironically – is the inversely proportional phenomenon in which a state’s population increases, yet Congressional representation decreases, which was first discovered in 1880 by C. W. Seaton, Chief Clerk of the United States Census Bureau, who calculated apportionments for all House sizes between 275 and 350, and discovered that Alabama would get 8 seats with a House size of 299, but only 7 with a House size of 300. The same phenomenon was discovered to exist with new states admitted to the union (such as with Colorado in 1900), and generally refers to an apportionment scenario in which increasing the number of Representatives would decrease at least one state’s number of representatives in the House.

Mathematically, of course, it’s impossible to have a perfectly equal representation, which was proven in 1983 by two mathematicians, Michel Balinski and Peyton Young, who discovered that any method of apportionment which does not violate the quota rule – being that the number of seats to be allocated should be between the upper or lower roundings of its fractional proportional share – will result in paradoxes whenever there are three or more states. Earlier, in 1980, the Balinski–Young theorem proved that if an apportionment method satisfies the quota rule, it must fail to satisfy some apportionment paradox.

But, determining methods to apportion is getting much too complex, and practically misses the entire point, which is that the Constitution plainly states that ALL people should be counted, and Alabama is claiming that all people should NOT be counted, alleging that illegal aliens constitute an inordinate number of people in the nation.

Again, Alabama has been down that path before with their HB56 law written by Kris Kobach when he was Kansas Secretary of State, which sought to exclude people from legal rights (freedom of movement, etc.) and long-standing protections, based upon their immigration status, which was typically determined by looking at skin color, or surname, and little else. Federal courts have since struck down most of the law.

The wording in the recent Alabama & Mo Brooks v Census Bureau suit states that “plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that the Residence Rule is unconstitutional because an apportionment of members of the House of Representatives and Electoral College votes among the states based on population figures which include illegal aliens would violate § 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment, Article I, § 2’s requirement of an “actual Enumeration” of the population of the United States, and Article II, § 1 of the United States Constitution.”

The suit seeks remedy through a rather perverse – and un-Constitutional – means, making accusation that illegal aliens (aka undocumented immigrants, otherwise known as people who are here in violation of immigration law, such as Canadians, who illegally overstayed their visas, which research showed are far more abundant than Hispanics, or Mexicans, and in 2016-17 accounted for at least 93,000 – more than any other nation), and that such contravention is anathema to the purpose of the Census, which states that all people shall be counted, making no differentiation among citizens, and non-citizens… at least none that we now know of – except for the Indian thing (“excluding Indians not taxed”)… and the Three-Fifths Compromise and the 13th Amendment, which still allows slavery, albeit “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

Most recently, on July 21, 2020, the White House wrote a “Memorandum for the Secretary of Commerce” which was entitled “Memorandum on Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census,” and acknowledged in part that, “The Constitution does not specifically define which persons must be included in the apportionment base.” That’s interesting, because as they continue down the rabbit hole of their illogic, they conclude with the President having the final say in the Census by writing “The President, by law, makes the final determination regarding the “whole number of persons in each State,” which determines the number of Representatives to be apportioned to each State, and transmits these determinations and accompanying census data to the Congress (2 U.S.C. 2a(a)).”

However, the law which they quote 2 U.S.C. 2a(a) states in pertinent part, that “the President shall transmit to the Congress a statement showing the whole number of persons in each State…” not that the President shall make any changes, or additions.

Moreover, there’s likely little disagreement that Read the rest of this entry »

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Should We Give Tax Dollars To Churches?

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

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

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

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

Yeah.

Governmentally supported.

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

Yeah.

THAT church.

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

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Greedy Corrupt U.S. Senators

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

Appointed Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, R

The United States Senate is controlled by a corrupt cabal of Republicans, none of whom are racial/ethnic minority. It’s LITERALLY (at least on the GOP side) an all-White enclave – with one extraordinary exception: Tim Scott of South Carolina – the Senate’s only Black Republican.

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

Here’s the pertinent excerpt from the “Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force in Press Briefing” (linked above) held in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, April 19, 2020, 6:28 P.M. EDT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senator Richard Burr, R-NC

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

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

All Senators,
80% Republican,
60% Male,
97% White,
100% Multi-Millionaires

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a very simple solution:

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

Problem solved.

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

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


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

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

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Should Attorney General Bill Barr Resign?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, February 13, 2020

I think there’s little question that this administration is very likely the MOST corrupt administration in the history of our nation. Not even the Nixon administration could hold a candle to it.

And, to be certain, corruption needn’t be blatant, nor does it require violation of law. There is such a thing as “legal corruption,” and this POTUS and his administration are living, breathing, examples of such legal corruption.

Roger Stone, center, pictured in 1985 with fellow Republican operatives Paul Manafort, left, and Lee Atwater. (Photo By Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post).

So, exactly what IS corruption?

While words usage and meaning often changes over a period of time, one can discern what words meant by examining their origin and derivation, which is called “etymology.”

The etymology of the word “corrupt” shows that, as an adjective, it emerged in the early 14c., and meant “corrupted, debased in character,” and was derived from the Old French word “corropt,” meaning “unhealthy, corrupt; uncouth” (of language), and came directly from the Latin word “corruptus,” which is the past participle of “corrumpere” meaning “to destroy; spoil,” while figuratively it means to “corrupt, seduce, bribe.”

The Latin word itself was an from assimilated form of the Proto-Indo-European past participle stem of “rumpere” meaning “to break,” and a Sanskrit source states that a portion of the word from that language meant “to suffer from a stomach-ache.” It was also used a verb and meant to “deprave morally, pervert from good to bad.” Around that same time, it included, and incorporated a use and meaning to be “guilty of dishonesty involving bribery.”

There is a “longstanding difficulty about the term “corruption” and its use in social science and political advocacy.

“Corruption” implies deviation from some ideal state, and so defining corruption usually involves an implicit or explicit selection of a baseline standard of “correct” behavior. The three most common possibilities – none entirely satisfactory – are:

1. Law (“corruption” entails violation of specific legal prohibitions on, say, bribery, nepotism, embezzlement, etc.)

2. Public opinion (“corruption” involves acts, or patterns of behavior, that would be viewed by most citizens as wrongful abuses of power, whether or not they are illegal)

3. Public interest (“corruption” involves acts, or patterns of behavior, that contravene the public interest—whether or not the actions in question are illegal and/or the subject of widespread disapproval).

The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University writes that there are “…two specific forms of corruption across American states: illegal and legal.

We define illegal corruption as the private gains in the form of cash or gifts by a government official, in exchange for providing specific benefits to private individuals or groups.

“It is the form of corruption that attracts a great deal of public attention. A second form of corruption, however, is becoming more and more common in the U.S.: legal corruption.

We define legal corruption as the political gains in the form of campaign contributions or endorsements by a government official, in exchange for providing specific benefits to private individuals or groups, be it by explicit or implicit understanding.

“Such dealings are, in turn, one aspect of the broader issue of Institutional Corruption which, Read the rest of this entry »

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“LET US IN!” House Republicans LITERALLY Scream

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

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

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


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

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

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

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“Do Something!” About Gun Sickness and Disease

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Within a period of 7 days, 35 people were killed, and 64 were injured in 3 mass shootings in our nation.

July 28, 2019 – 5:48 PM PDT Garlic Festival – Gilroy, CA – 3 Killed, 13 Injured

August 3, 2019 – 10:39 AM CDT Wal-Mart – El Paso, TX – 22 Killed, 24 Injured

August 4, 2019 – 1:05 AM EDT – Historic Oregon District, Downtown Dayton, OH – 10 Killed, 27 Injured

Authorities have identified the assailants and weapons used. In each case, the weapons used were military-grade assault style rifles designed for military use, modeled after the Russian AK-47, and the American AR-15. The exclusive purpose of such firearms as weapons of mass destruction is to kill human beings with great ease, and efficiency – to inflict as much carnage and damage upon as many people as possible, in a short period of time. They are ONLY weapons of war, and nothing else. They were NOT designed for any other purpose than to kill human beings with great ease, and efficiency.

The assailants were:
• Connor Stephen Betts, 24, of Bellbrook, OH (Dayton) – deceased;
• Santino William Legan, 19, of Gilroy, CA and Walker Lake, NV (Gilroy) – deceased, and;
• Patrick Wood Crusius, 21, of Allen, TX (El Paso) – captured.

In none of those cases neither “a good guy with a gun,” nor a border wall was effective to either deter, prevent, or stop the deaths and injuries of 127 people.

But those three tragedies were not the only ones.

Ohio’s Republican Governor Mike Dewine addresses Ohioans about the Dayton mass shooting.

Just today – August 5, 2019 – in Brooklyn, the most populous borough in NYC, there was a mass shooting at 216 Buffalo Avenue where 4 people were injured, with no deaths in which “Police confirm a man was shot in the chest, and two women have also been found with gunshots wounds.”
-and-
A shooting with 4 injuries occurred at 5691 Suitland Road, in Suitland, MD.

Yesterday, there were FOUR mass shootings at:
1800 S Kildare Ave in Chicago, one killed, and 7 wounded;
443 E Shelby Dr in Memphis, one killed, 3 wounded;
2900 block of W Roosevelt Rd in Chicago, 7 wounded;
419 E 5th St in Dayton, OH, 10 killed, 26 wounded.

On July 28, the date of the Gilroy, CA Garlic Festival shooting, there were a total of SIX mass shootings throughout the nation.

In the days since, there have been 15 mass shootings, inclusive, in which 47 people were killed, with 115 injured. For details, see: https://www.GunViolenceArchive.org/reports/mass-shooting

According to data from the Gun Violence Archive website, this year to date, there have been 255 mass shootings, resulting in 275 deaths, and 1069 injuries.

No one is happy about this.

No one.

Kentucky Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proudly displaying the Made-in-China Nike brand athletic shoes which he blames for his fall which ironically, injured his LEFT shoulder. As a child born in Alabama, McConnell also had polio.

The paralytic gridlocked Congress is in summer recess, as GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) is Read the rest of this entry »

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Economic Fundamental

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 5, 2019

California United States Senator Kamala Harris

There is something FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG in a nation when its largest supermarket chain by revenue – which is also the second-largest general retailer and the eighteenth largest company in the nation – finds it necessary, and plans to Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

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

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

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

—//—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Steve King, Iowa’s Racist 4th District Representative

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, January 12, 2019

“One phrase in that long article has created an unnecessary controversy. That was my mistake.”
–Steve King, Iowa’s 4th Congressional District Republican Representative on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives speaking about public criticism of his comments made in a New York Times interview, published January 10, 2019

TRANSLATION: That’s like saying, “Oops! I said ‘jigaboo’ when I should’ve said ‘darkie’.”

Here, in context, is what he said:
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

Iowa US Rep Steve King speaks at The Family Leadership Summit 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa, a thinly veiled Evangelical political summit sponsored in part by the Helms School of Government at Liberty University. Over several years, Liberty has had their own problems with charges of racism, and the Helms is named after late North Carolina Jesse Helms, himself a notorious racist.

When Steve King speaks about preserving “Western culture” or “Western civilization,” along with an obsessive discussion of birthrates and abortion rates among different ethnic groups, those are Read the rest of this entry »

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“I now call the House to order on behalf of all of America’s children.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 3, 2019

Having just been administered the Oath of Office for an historic second time, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi D-CA12, gavels the House to order saying, “I now call the House to order on behalf of all of America’s children.”

“I now call the House to order on behalf of all of America’s children.”

Nancy Pelosi of California, a Democrat from that state’s 12th District has made history again not only as the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives, but as the first woman to have ever been twice Speaker of the House. She further joins an even more rarefied group – 7 Speakers who were re-elected to the position, i.e. having served nonconsecutive terms.

The 116th Congress is historic for several other reasons, not just because of Read the rest of this entry »

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Congress’ Revolving Door, Part II

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, December 30, 2018

TheHill.com is reporting that, once again, outgoing Congress critters are migrating to their Corporate Masters on K Street… the well-worn thoroughfare for lobbyists, and “think tanks” who seek to influence Members of Congress decisions for the benefit of their Corporate Masters, not for for the benefit of “We the People.”

That is not a new phenomenon, has occurred, and continues occurring in the Democratic, just as well as in the Republican camp. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ever Had A Bad Restaurant Experience? Here’s What You Can Do.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 7, 2018

Ever been to a busy restaurant?

Who hasn’t?

By “busy,” I mean one with many customers/patrons while you’re there. It could be any style restaurant, of course, such as a fast-food place, but more particularly, I mean to refer to restaurants that have wait staff.

In such a busy restaurant, the place will typically be crowded, practically all seats will be filled at every table, and if there’s a bar counter with chairs, it’ll be filled up too. And  on football game days, some restaurants are filled to capacity, often just as much as they’re filled on weekends year round.

It seems eating/dining out is a type of American pastime. It’s common to hear others say “go there, try that, try the new dish” at this, that or the other restaurant.

Doubtless, at some time or another, at any type of restaurant, we’ve experienced slow or poor service, and even poor quality of food in some of them. Even the well-known Waffle House chain restaurant can have moments when they’re overwhelmed with customers, thereby stressing the cook and wait staff.

So, think about how long it took you to be seated, then be waited upon, then to get your drinks, and then food, and how well (or not) your needs were attended do during the meal.

With any crowded restaurant, the large number of patrons can overwhelm the wait staff, and the kitchen staff. Yes, it can be frustrating, but you’re hungry and/or have made plans or reservations, so you don’t want go to another restaurant – and often won’t. After all, you’re already there. And it’s a hassle to do that. Right? So, you settle, suffer, and endure the poor service.

The source of the problem, and the primary matter to be addressed is inadequate staffing. What is a proper ratio of waitstaff to customers? And what is a proper ratio of kitchen staff to customers? How many chefs and line cooks does it take to support a given amount of tables during peak hours? How many bussers and host staff are needed? How many bartenders? An effective staffing ratio is the answer to those questions and others related to effective, efficient service in a full house restaurant.

In a restaurant that seats 100 people, it would be absurd to imagine that only 1 waitstaff could effectively meet the needs of all 100 patrons. Similarly, it’d be equally preposterous to think that only 1 cook could effectively or simultaneously prepare enough food for 100 patrons. That’s completely ignoring the number of Read the rest of this entry »

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Size Matters: Neither The Congress Nor The Supreme Court Are Big Enough

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, September 22, 2018

Should we, as reasonable people, expect the size of our Congress – specifically, the House of Representatives – to be permanently fixed at 435 members, and never increase representation according to an increase in population? And with regard to the the Supreme Court, should only 5 people decide the fate of a nation, why not a few more, like 13 or 17?

What if I told you Congress needed about 1000 MORE Members of the House of Representatives? And, what if I told you the United States Supreme Court needs to have AT LEAST 13 Justices, and that THEY should choose from AMONG THEMSELVES the Chief Justice?

You don’t wear the same size clothing you did when you were aged 10, 15, or even 25. The People’s representation in our nation’s governance needs also needs to be properly fitted.

Having MORE Representatives would NOT cause “more logjam politics,” nor would it cause corruption, but instead, would significantly increase efficiency -and- the ease with which laws would get passed, and bad or old laws get eliminated or changed. Criminality is most often done in secret by a few. Rarely is criminal activity, even in organized crime, ever on a large scale like an army invasion. It’s always a little thing, like guerilla warfare. There were only 7 co-conspirators with President Richard M. Nixon in the criminal Watergate break-in, burglary, wiretapping, attempted cover-up, and resulting scandal. The pace at which our government moves is not merely unresponsively sluggish, it is deliberately and negligently slothful. It is being reasonably asked to do things we tell it to do, and in the process, being denied the resources – money, personnel, and time – necessary to perform those tasks. Government can, and should move much more quickly. And historically, it has.

Think of it this way:
You have three dogs, and one chicken bone. Throw it down and watch them fight.
You get two more chicken bones, and each dog has one. Problem solved.

Some would raise the matter of Constitutional interpretation in opposition to the idea, and think we should hold to a strict Constitutional interpretation – whatever “strict” is, or means – and it typically means that the modern thinkers imagine they can, and therefore attempt to conjure up a mind-reading session to interpret what the framers of the Constitution intended or hoped… even though they’ve been long dead. Sure, they gave us the Constitution, along with a means and method of updating it, which itself means that it’s not static, and can be changed. And it has been changed many times since its inception. It is a living document, not a dead one into which we attempt to blow the breath of life. It lives still.

Some think we can interpret the Constitution according to our unique needs, which the original framers could not have begun to fathom. And the fact is, that’s what we’ve always done. At least until the last 50 years, or so, until the time which gradually, the specious notion that smaller is better crept in under cover of negligence, and “downsizing” became part of the popular corporate and political vernacular. In effect, such talk is discussion is only about inefficiency, and how they have not effectively used the resources they have, nor planned appropriately.

There is no doubt that the framers of our Constitution could never have imagined that man would walk on the moon, that geosynchronous orbiting and interplanetary traveling satellites would tell us about our precise location on Earth, and our solar system, and that more than twice the computing power of history’s largest space rocket (Apollo V) could fit in your shirt pocket, or that our union would have well over 330,000,000 residents.

Button Gwinnett (1735–1777 was the first signer of the Constitution, and was later, briefly the Governor of Georgia.

And it goes without saying that Button Gwinnett, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, James Madison, George Washington, and others in their era, had no idea about antibiotics; they had no inkling that magnetic fields could peer deeply inside the human body to detect disorder; that dental implants and multi-organ transplants would exist; or that we would send a telescope to orbit our planet and peer deeply into the cosmos to see star systems hundreds of billions of light-years away -and- then replace it with an even better, significantly improved, more perfect one to see into the edges of the time -and- send a satellite hurtling toward the sun to learn more about the blazing fiery hydrogen fusion orb which is the center of our universe.

Artist’s 2009 rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope, which will replace the Hubble Space Telescope.

None of those things and more which we daily take for granted – such as GPS on smartphones – could have ever been imagined by our Founding Fathers… or their mothers, or children, and never were.

We are as different, and our needs are as immensely diverse from our nation’s founders as night is from day, and there is no reason why we should not “update” our government according to the manner for which it is prescribed.

In 2019, we have more patents, more copyrights, more inventions, more discoveries, more science, more creative works of myriad kind, and – of course – many, many, many, more people. Many!

If it was anything, it was but a pipe dream that one day, unmanned remote control aircraft could be silently flown around the world, eavesdrop on conversations, take pictures in the dark to deploy guided missiles, drop bombs, and kill people… and that we, on the opposite side of the globe, could watch it unfold live, as it happened, as if it were macabre modern gladiatorial entertainment.

Portrait of Robert Boyle (1627-1691), by German painter John Kerseboom (d.1708), which is publicly displayed at Gawthorpe Hall, in England.

In the age and era of the founding of our nation, the concept of microscopy and the cell theory was relatively new. Robert Hooke, considered the “father of microscopy” had just discovered cells in 1665, and Robert Boyle (Boyle’s Law) were contemporaries in 1662, while Sir Isaac Newton died in 1727 – a mere 60 years before our Constitution was written.

Benjamin Franklin didn’t publish his most famous experiment which used lightning and a kite to prove that lightning was electricity until 1750; Orville and Wilbur Wright didn’t get off the ground at Kitty Hawk until 1903; Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic – penicillin – in 1928; and the planet Pluto wasn’t discovered until 1930!

We’re talking about 242 years ago, “when giants and dinosaurs roamed the Earth.”

In a way, our nation’s founders were giants, and yet, in another way, they were dinosaurs who could fathom no idea – not even a minuscule hint – and because of it, were literally clueless about the greatness that America would become.

To give them their due, however, their curiosity and liberality served them well then, and it serves us well now. Our form of government is, in the history of humanity, among the shortest-lived, but the most remarkable, and successful.

Congressional Coffee Hour (Senate). 2 May 1961, Blue Room, White House, Washington, D.C.; L-R: Senator Quentin Northrup Burdick-D, North Dakota (1908-1992); Senator Wayne Lyman Morse-D, Oregon (1900-1974); President John Fitzgerald Kennedy-D (1917-1963); Senator Thomas Henry Kuchel-R, California (1910-1994); Senator Hubert Horatio Humphrey-D, Minnesota (1911-1978); Senator Roman Lee Hruska-R, Nebraska (1904-1999); From the JFK Library; Photographer: Robert LeRoy Knudsen, (1929-1989)

In a sense, though while Greeks and Romans were inspirations, Americans perfected the three-branch bicameral democratic republic form of government. And we’re still perfecting it today. It’s part and parcel of that “in order to form a more perfect union” thing.

So, now it comes time to mention the obvious: While some loudly say government is too large, others say it is way too small to be either efficient or effective. I am among those in the latter camp, and will show and explain why as follows.

First, it’s preposterously absurd to imagine that a foundling nation with a total population which was then less than half the size that New York City is now, would, could, or should have a smaller government as it grew and matured. In the same way, no one wears the clothes they did as a 10-year-old child, and as adults, they purchase and/or make larger garments to suit their needs and wants. Similarly, no one should expect government to decrease in size.

More than anything, these matters speak directly to efficiency and effectiveness of government, which our nation’s founders also understood very well, which is also why Read the rest of this entry »

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How To End Gun Violence

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, April 15, 2018

Ending gun violence neither requires repealing the 2nd Amendment, writing entirely new legislation, nor doing nothing – as is being now done, no matter how seemingly well intentioned. With minor modifications to existing law as language additions, almost all interested parties are satisfied – not all, but many, if not most – concerns are addressed in a rational, reasonable, lawful, Constitutional, and commonsensical legislative process that also minimizes taxpayer burden.

Opinions run the gamut, from one extreme, including repeal of the Second Amendment – by former SCOTUS Justice John Paul Stevens, a Republican and Ford appointee – to the other, from arming teachers, to wholesale abandonment of all existing firearm law.

But rarely, if ever, is there any commonsensical solution ever made on settling on any problem with rational, reasonable, logical compromise that achieves most all goals, within reason, and with very slight compromise to all interested parties.

My conservative friends think me liberal, while my liberal friends think me conservative, and both are wrong.

The casual and cursory Read the rest of this entry »

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Members of Congress: Virtual American Royalty… At Taxpayer Expense

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, December 21, 2017

Members of Congress as virtual royalty,
have raised their pay 9 times over 9 years,
but raised Minimum Wage only 3 times in 18 years.
While Congress now pays themselves almost
3x the Median Household Income,
since 2000,
Inflation has totaled 37.4%.
And with 72% subsidies, Employer Contributions,
and other
luxurious perks unavailable to the Average Citizen,
including full Retirement Vestment after 5 years,
and 72% subsidy for Healthcare Insurance in Retirement,
their Healthcare is practically free.
And you’re paying for it.
But yours is not.
And you’re paying for it, too!

Members first received $6 a day in 1789, today they get $174,000 annually, in addition to phenomenal perks, health insurance, and retirement… all at taxpayer expense.

Presently, Congress also gets: Read the rest of this entry »

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How To Resolve Gun Sickness & Disease

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Firearm fascination has gotten to the point of ridiculousness, to the extent that it’s much like a paraphilia. It’s no longer merely “disturbing,” its downright dangerous, and blatantly irresponsible. As Healthcare professionals, we research & examine the scope, extent, and exact nature of the problem, then make a diagnosis, and formulate a plan of treatment to either ameliorate the symptoms, or cure the disease. It presumes, of course, that the patient will cooperate with the plan, and follow the course of treatment.

In this present “gun nut” scenario in which we find ourselves suffering, the NRA has bent over backwards to Read the rest of this entry »

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Can American Health Insurance Be Repaired?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 17, 2017

Naysayers to the “public option,” or “single payer” health insurance plan claim that it’s “socialized medicine.” You know… much like what Military Service Members  – and their families – in the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines have access to. And to be certain, the health insurance “money grab” came through Richard Nixon‘s signature on a bill written by  Massachusetts’ U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy… the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973.

Before that law was passed, it was ILLEGAL to profit from delivery of healthcare services. Now, we have avariciously rapacious Wall-Street masters slave driving the people for more and more and more and more profit. The greedy, never-ending quest for profits has quickly deteriorated the American healthcare delivery system, which was once a marvel of the world. Now, according to the World Health Organization 2000 report of its 191 member nations health systems, the United States ranked 37th in efficiency worldwide, while France, Italy, San Marino, Andorra, and Malta round out the top five most efficient nations for delivery of healthcare services. Japan ranks 10th, while the United Kingdom is 18th, and Canada is 30th. The United States is sandwiched in between Costa Rica, and Slovenia, respectively.

Truth be told – and it’s sad to say – there are probably as many corrupt Democrats as there are corrupt Republicans, neither of whom have the people’s best interests at heart, or in mind. Such ones’ solitary concern is with their own wallet, and how they can profit privately at taxpayer expense. That includes graft through directing contracts and business toward friends’ business interests.

Look at Read the rest of this entry »

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Voting Participation Rates: A Steady Decline… Or Not?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, March 26, 2017

As of today – Sunday, March 26, 2017 –  we are less than 100 days into President Donald Trump’s term in office, and his approval ratings – so far, a low of 37% –  are practically subterranean. According to Gallup, his highest approval rating thus far has been 46%, which was a three-day average shortly after he was inaugurated, from January 23-25, 2017. An average of all presidents from 1938-2017 at this point in their presidency (first year, first term) is 53%. Two-term Republican Dwight David Eisenhower (previously former Supreme Allied Commander during WWII) was the highest with a 74% approval rating in March 1953. Oft-maligned Democrat President Jimmy Carter had a 72% approval rating March 1977, and JFK had 73% in March 1961. A reminder that JFK was later assassinated November 22, 1963. More recently however, Barack Obama had a 62% approval rating March 2009.

A reminder also that the 2018 Election (aka “Midterm”) is arriving quickly, and for many, it will be one of THE MOST SIGNIFICANT elections in a lifetime, because ALL 435 seats in the House of Representatives and Read the rest of this entry »

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All Trumped Up Over The FISA Court

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 6, 2017

Imagine, or pretend for a moment that you were President of the United States.

You would be literally be “the boss of” and have access to a vast trove of over 14 different American Intelligence & National Security agencies.

If so desired, you could watch video of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, see photographs of his corpse and burial at sea, and examine the report made of his DNA following his death and capture. By virtue of the Office of the President, there would be virtually nothing to which you would not entitled to know, or view in the agencies of the United States government. You would be able to see the code-named TOP SECRETS of our government. You would have full and unfettered access to the highest levels of secret information… including Nuclear Access Codes.

The Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Energy, State, and Justice, along with all their myriad divisions and offices – ALL Executive level agencies – which includes the FBI, US Marshals Service, Secret Service, DEA, ATF, Coast Guard, and more – would ALL be under your ultimate control, and you would be their Boss.

The CIA is an independent agency.

Because the FBI and the NSA are Executive level offices/agencies, it is NOT a stretch to imagine that the President ~COULD~ Read the rest of this entry »

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Note To @TheDemocrats & Other #NeverTrump-ers: To win in 2018, STOP THE AD HOMINEM!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 1, 2017

To be certain, I find Donald J. Trump to be a contemptible person, truly grotesque, and undignified in every manner. That being said, he holds the office of the Presidency of the United States, and regardless of the personality in it, the office is worthy of respect.

Some have found Trump’s occupancy of the office to be onerous, and his candidacy repugnantly contemptuous, and aside from discussions regarding ancillary matters such as Russian meddling in our electoral process, there very well may be significant merit to the arguments made supporting such accusations of his character flaws. However, I wish it to be made clear that there is, and must be, a separation from the personality of the man, and the policy ideas he promotes.

To illustrate the matter, consider the following online dialogue:

A: “The time for trivial fighting is behind us”. …. says the one who perpetuated the birther lie for over 8 years causing serious buildup of hate groups and encouraged barbaric behavior among the populace . ..and who led angry mobs in chanting “lock her up” … only lame minds can take this pervert seriously.

B: I dunno’. He said some things that sounded good, but then again, that’s every politician’s job… and he is one now. We’ll see how Read the rest of this entry »

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Citizens United Ruling Violates Equal Protection Clause

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 6, 2017

Nick Hanauer, a multi-billionaire about whom few have likely heard, authored a highly publicized article not too long ago warning about wealth inequity. Increasingly, the wealthy are realizing that a strategy of cutting taxes upon the wealthy and their corporations is not a recipe for American success, precisely for the reason that it adversely affects economic infrastructure, and jobs, among other damages.

However, one needn’t be wealthy to realize and understand that money, and the unreasonable desire for it known as avarice (an extreme form of greed), and the unwieldy power that accompanies it, are corrupting influences in any nation, and particularly in our United States because of SCOTUS ruling in the 2010 Citizens United v Federal Election Commission decision which Read the rest of this entry »

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In Response to John Goodwin’s FaceBook Post

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 5, 2016

A man named John Goodwin made a public post on FaceBook, which also included a link to an OpEd published in the Washington Post on November 9, 2016, which was written by Charles Camosy (PhD, University of Notre Dame), and entitled “Trump won because college-educated Americans are out of touch.” Dr. Camosy is an Associate Professor of Theological and Social Ethics at Fordham University, and the author of a book entitled “Beyond the Abortion Wars: A Way Forward for A New Generation.”

Mr. Goodwin’s FaceBook profile is sufficiently ambiguous of himself, though in his public post which is time & date-stamped 9:45AM, November 10, 2016, and ostensibly geolocated from Washington, D.C., he wrote of himself that, “I haven’t posted about the election mostly because 1) I do this for a living and most of you don’t,” which would lead one to suppose that at some level, he works in or with public policy, or more likely, with politicians.

I do not.

However, suffice it to say, that for many, many, many years, I have remained immensely interested in public policy, though I do not now, nor have I ever made my living from it, or influencing, or attempting to influence others in elected office.

In other words, I have taken the high road.

Mr. Goodwin’s public post to FaceBook is linked herein, as is the article upon which he expounded.

https://www.facebook.com/goody37/posts/10154328123133884

In order to fully understand the matter of discussion herein, I encourage the reader to fully read this item following herein, as well as Mr. Goodwin’s post, and the OpEd upon which he opined

I have responded to Mr. Goodwin’s post as follows:
His words appear italicized, and in “quotation marks.”
My commentary follows immediately after.

“…not everyone lives in big cities.”
• That is correct. The United States Census Bureau says that 80.7% of American reside in urban areas. In fact, they report that “the population density in cities is more than 46 times higher than the territory outside of cities.” So that leaves a whopping 19.3% in rural areas.

“I didn’t grow up with money.”
• Money had been invented by the time I was born. But seriously, someone votes for Donald Trump as if the wealthy are advocates for the impoverished or even the average American? C’mon. Mr. Born-With-A-Silver-Spoon-In-His-Mouth? Really?

“…not everyone went to elite colleges.”
• According to the United States Census Bureau, “in 2015, almost 9 out of 10 adults (88 percent) had at least a high school diploma or GED, while nearly 1 in 3 adults (33 percent) held a bachelor’s or higher degree.” I’m in the 33%. So I’m an elite. Thanks!

“You think they (people who eat at Read the rest of this entry »

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How TRUE is “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”? You’d be surprised… or, maybe not.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, November 3, 2016

Remember how ANGRY some folks got when Michael Weisskopf (b.1946) of the Washington Post wrote on February 1, 1993 (link to original article with the WaPo’s editorial addendum) that the simple-minded evangelical groupies of Jerry Falwell (who himself died in 2007), Pat Robertson (b.1930), et al, that:
The gospel lobby evolved with the explosion of satellite and cable television, hitting its national political peak in the presidential election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

“Unlike other powerful interests, it does not lavish campaign funds on candidates for Congress nor does it entertain them. The strength of fundamentalist leaders lies in their flocks. Corporations pay public relations firms millions of dollars to contrive the kind of grass-roots response that Falwell or Pat Robertson can galvanize in a televised sermon. Their followers are largely poor, uneducated and easy to command.

“”The thing that makes them powerful is they’re mobilizable,” said Seymour Martin Lipset (d.2006), professor of public policy at George Mason University. “You can activate them to vote, and that’s particularly important in congressional primaries where the turnout is usually low.”

“Some studies put the number of evangelical Americans as high as 40 million, with the vast majority considered politically conservative.”

[ed. note: The excerpt, which has frequently been distilled to “largely poor, uneducated and easy to command,” is provided here in full proper context with leading and following sentences, not merely excerpted, in order to thoroughly show proper context.]

It’s true.

Folks don’t get mad because of falsehoods.

They get mad because of truth.

It’s true.

According to the United States Census Bureau (USCB), in 2015 (22 years AFTER that was written), 32.5% of the American public aged 25, or older, have a Bachelor’s Degree (Table 1.), which is CLEARLY a minority. Thus, we see automatically the “largely” part of “uneducated.”

The USCB has also performed research on income, which is similarly delineated and categorized by education. For the year 2011 (18 years AFTER the remarks were made), and those aged 25+ with at least a Bachelor’s Degree, the average income was Read the rest of this entry »

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Your Tax Dollars At Work: Taxpayers Subsidize CEO Pay, Here’s How #BonusLoophole

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, September 3, 2016

Executive Excess 2016: The Wall Street CEO Bonus Loophole

This 23rd annual report reveals how taxpayers are subsidizing financial crisis windfalls.

By Sarah Anderson and Sam Pizzigati, August 31, 2016

CashingInOnTheCrisis-Graphic-1-1This report is the first to calculate how much taxpayers have been subsidizing executive bonuses at the nation’s largest banks.

The study focuses on a 1993 Clinton administration reform that was intended to rein in runaway CEO pay by capping the tax deductibility of executive compensation at $1 million. But the new rule included a huge loophole for stock options and other “performance” pay. As a result, the more corporations hand out in executive bonuses, the lower their tax bill. This perverse incentive for excessive compensation has been a major factor in the explosion of CEO pay.

The financial bailout program closed this loophole for recipients, but only until Read the rest of this entry »

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Congressional Pay: Too Much, Too Little, or Just Right?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 7, 2014

Years ago, I said “build a Federal Barracks for members of Congress, and have them march to work.” I still think having modest Federal Housing for members of Congress is a good idea.

Regarding their level of pay/compensation, the article’s point – that D.C. is an expensive place to live – is well taken, and it is my considered opinion in light of that fact which gives further credence to the idea of modest Federal Housing for members of Congress. In fact, if their salaries were, by law, capped at twice the median American household income (which, according to the article is now approximately $51,000), it could be an even better idea.

And, the value of the housing they would receive from the Federal Government could also be be considered a type of income. Perhaps even they could be paid a Basic Allowance for Housing in a similar fashion to our military service members for such housing.¹ An apartment building complex would most likely be the best option for in-town accommodations, which could be convenient to their work location, and it could be jointly managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Park Service.

However, with this present miasmatic congress, I hold out little hope for any such creative laws limiting congressional compensation, or introducing Federal Congressional Barracks/Housing to be introduced – though I believe it should be done, and is long overdue, along with Term Limitations. A total of 20 years elected federal service is long enough for anyone. Two terms in the Senate (12 years), and four terms in the House (8 years) should be enough for anyone, would reintroduce vibrancy into the process of national governance, and introduce more people to the process of elected public service.

Congressman’s Lament: $174,000 Isn’t Enough To Make Ends Meet

by Liz Halloran
April 04, 2014 3:05 PM ET

In what world does an annual salary of $174,000 meet the definition of underpaid?

That would be in the nation’s capital, where soon-to-be-retired Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said Americans should know that their members of Congress — as the board of directors for the “largest economic entity in the world” — are underpaid.

The longtime congressman made his comments Thursday after the House voted for the sixth straight year to deny members an automatic cost-of-living raise they’re entitled to under law.

Not surprisingly, reaction to Moran’s assertion was Read the rest of this entry »

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Here’s what the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS decision ~REALLY~ means

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 30, 2014

In essence, here’s what today’s SCOTUS ruling in the Hobby Lobby case means:

We’re good with Sharia Law as long as it’s for business purposes.

Think about that next time someone’s favorite religious nut job goes to court.

Because of extremist, right-wing religious radicals, women are again being relegated to second class citizens, WITHOUT full rights and being further  victimized by having access denied to birth control/oral contraceptives – i.e., Ortho Novum 777, progesterone, estrogens, etc. – NOT abortion.

Those medications also treat other diseases exclusive to women, including polycystic ovarian disease, endometriosis, amenorrhea/ dysmenorrhea, etc.

The question before the court was this:

“At issue here are regulations promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), which, as relevant here, requires specified employers’ group health plans to furnish “preventive care and screenings” for women without “any cost sharing requirements,” 42 U. S. C. §300gg–13(a)(4). Congress did not specify what types of preventive care must be covered; it authorized the Health Resources and Services Administration, a component of HHS, to decide.”

One’s private personal religious beliefs should never be on trial.

Yet now, because of extremist right-wing radicals, the door is now opened wide to mandate any employee of a “closely held” multi-national corporation, to FORCE them to adhere to THEIR religious beliefs… even when it jeopardizes their health.

Any well-read, well-studied Christian should be familiar with Read the rest of this entry »

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Pitchfork in the Road: America’s Economic Future – Poverty & Insurrection, or Abundance & Peace?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 28, 2014

“How much is enough?” is a qood question to ask many folks, especially some among the Wall $treet crowd.

And to be certain, the two principles of “the worker is worthy of their hire,” and “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain” are equally compelling ethics.

As those two ethics concern our nation’s economy, we can point to times in history where various nations suffered revolution, and the most common causes of revolution.

In fact, I wrote at length about it in this blog in 2011, and observed in part that, “…it’s not as if uproars have never happened before. They happen with great regularity and frequency. In fact, they’re quite predictable. Yes, predictable. It’s called “history.” The maxim goes something like this: “Those who forget the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.” And so, any reasonable or prudent person should ask, “What are the lessons of history?””

Just remember this: Food, Clothing, Shelter. If you can’t get them with what you have, you’ll fight, kill, go to war, or civil insurrection, to obtain the basic necessities of life.

The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats

By NICK HANAUER
Nick Hanauer is a Seattle-based entrepreneur.

July/August 2014

Memo: From Nick Hanauer
To: My Fellow Zillionaires

You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud. But I saw pretty quickly, even back then, that many of my customers, the big department store chains, were already doomed. I knew that as soon as the Internet became fast and trustworthy enough—and that time wasn’t far off—people were going to shop online like crazy. Goodbye, Caldor. And Filene’s. And Borders. And on and on.

Nick Hanauer

Nick Hanauer
With over 30 years of experience across a broad range of industries including manufacturing, retailing, e-commerce, digital media and advertising, software, aerospace, health care, and finance. Hanauer’s experience and perspective have produced an unusual record of serial successes. Hanauer has managed, founded or financed over 30 companies, creating aggregate market value of tens of billions of dollars. Some notable companies Include Amazon.com, Aquantive Inc., (purchased by Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion), Insitu group (purchased by Boeing for $400 million), Market Leader (purchased by Trulia in 2013 for $350 million). Some other companies include Marchex, Newsvine, Qliance, Seattle Bank and Pacific Coast Feather Company. – Photo by Robbie McClaran

Realizing that, seeing over the horizon a little faster than the next guy, was the strategic part of my success. The lucky part was that I had two friends, both immensely talented, who also saw a lot of potential in the web. One was a guy you’ve probably never heard of named Jeff Tauber, and the other was a fellow named Jeff Bezos. I was so excited by the potential of the web that I told both Jeffs that I wanted to invest in whatever they launched, big time. It just happened that the second Jeff—Bezos—called me back first to take up my investment offer. So I helped underwrite his tiny start-up bookseller. The other Jeff started a web department store called Cybershop, but at a time when trust in Internet sales was still low, it was too early for his high-end online idea; people just weren’t yet ready to buy expensive goods without personally checking them out (unlike a basic commodity like books, which don’t vary in quality—Bezos’ great insight). Cybershop didn’t make it, just another dot-com bust. Amazon did somewhat better. Now I own a very large yacht.

But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

At the same time that people like you and me are Read the rest of this entry »

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BIG OIL’s Corrupting Influence in American Politics: Propping up Corrupt Regimes to Prop Up Profits

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 7, 2014

Report

Slick Moves

The SEC could help tackle corruption in resource-rich countries around the world — but the oil industry is getting in the way.

Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, is regarded as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. And American oil lobbyists are only making the situation worse: They are exploiting Angola by seeking to delay and weaken the implementation of a crucial U.S. transparency law.

That law, Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, also known as the Cardin-Lugar amendment, promises a breakthrough in preventing dirty deals and illicit payments being made for natural resources around the world, similar to the shady transaction recently uncovered by Foreign Policy. If implemented fully, the law would make U.S. oil and mining companies disclose the payments they make to governments across the world, including in Angola. However, oil lobbyists have been making misguided arguments that laws in Angola and three other countries prevent the required disclosures.

Off Shore Oil Drilling Rig

Off Shore Oil Drilling Rig – MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

Angolan officials secretly profiting from the country’s oil riches is not a surprise. It is only the latest episode in a sad history that goes back for decades. Global Witness, where we work, began exposing the complicity of the international oil and banking industries in the plundering of state assets during Angola’s 40-year civil war in our 1999 report A Crude Awakening. This was followed by our 2002 report All the Presidents’ Men, which called on the oil companies operating in Angola to “Publish What You Pay” (PWYP). Under this rallying call, Global Witness co-launched the PWYP campaign, which is now an international coalition of more than 790 civil society organizations in over 60 countries, including Angola, advocating for transparency laws such as Section 1504.

These efforts are intended to prevent scandals similar to the Trafigura deal covered in Foreign Policy, which provide a glimpse of the endemic corruption in Angola‘s oil industry. Only a few days before Foreign Policy published its story, media reports about leaked documents relating to other corruption claims caused the share price of SBM Offshore, a Dutch oil services company operating in Angola, to plummet 17.9 percent when markets opened. SBM released a statement challenging the validity of the leaked documents, saying that they are partial, taken out of context, contain outdated information, and are not representative of the facts. SBM had also already disclosed to its investors that it was conducting an internal investigation into questionable payments in Angola. However, the dramatic stock drop suggests that SBM investors had not anticipated the scale of the corruption risk exposure.

Another oil services company active in Angola, Weatherford International, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and headquartered in Switzerland, has recently pleaded guilty to violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), including bribery of the executives of Sonangol, Angola’s state oil company. It has agreed to pay fines of $253 million to settle the case, one of the largest FCPA settlements ever.

These cases illustrate the urgent need for transparency in Angola’s oil sector. The successful implementation of Read the rest of this entry »

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In Defense of #Infrastructure Spending

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 22, 2014

At the federal level, TEApublican types have decried our national deficit, much – if not most – of which came about as a result of placing the price of a decade of warfare on a proverbial credit card. I refer, of course, to the Persian Gulf War, Gulf War II, Operation Desert Shield/Storm and the invasion of Afghanistan, etc., all of which occurred during the previous administration.

Compounding that problem was that corporate and personal income tax rates upon the wealthiest was cut, while simultaneously, the veritable house of cards was crumbling, having been built upon the miry, sinking sands of Wall Street deregulation & greed gone wild.

Nevertheless, as our nation has struggled and clawed its way back to some semblance of fiscal sanity, there have been voices arising whom assert that the federal government’s “bailout” of banks & other large, corporate enterprise has been a gross mistake, and that such a bailout should have never occurred. And, while there will doubtless be volumes written, and debates held about the good and the bad of the ordeal, what’s been done, has been done, and it’s practically all over, but the crying. So the only thing we can do now, is live & learn, and move on.

And yet, respecting one underlying problem which arose corollary to the matter, is the loss of jobs here at home. Again, it was complicated by ‘globalization,’ which – good, bad, or indifferent – is Read the rest of this entry »

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GAO Report: Pentagon spending out of control – Rumsfeld reported same in 2001

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 27, 2013

[UPDATE – Friday, September 4, 2020: The DOD link for SECDEF Rumsfeld’s remarks “DOD Acquisition and Logistics Excellence Week Kickoff — Bureaucracy to Battlefield” made Monday, September 10, 2001 has been relocated/obfuscated/archived. The PDF file of his remarks may now be found on/downloaded from this site, on Donald Rumsfeld’s archival site, or from the Homeland Security Digital Library, a site “sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA and the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security.” Ed.]

SECDEF Donald Rumsfeld remarks Monday September 10 2001 DOD Acquisition and Logistics Excellence Week Kickoff — Bureaucracy to Battlefield,

http://library.rumsfeld.com/doclib/sp/115/Remarks%20Launching%20DoD%20Acquisition%20and%20Logistics%20Excellence%20Week%2009-10-2001.pdf#search=%22pentagon%20bureaucracy%22 ,

• or https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=2423 . Ed.]


What does Alabama U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions think about the March 2012 Government Accountability Office report to Congress that found the 96 highest-priority defense programs in the Pentagon acquisitions system represented an estimated total cost of $1.58 trillion, and had actually “grown by over $74 billion or 5 percent in the past year”?

The report, entitled DEFENSE ACQUISITIONS: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs – may be downloaded from the GAO website: http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/589695.pdf

Or from this blog internally: GAO 3/12 report – DEFENSE ACQUISITIONS Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs

And then, there are the Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, The Pentagon, Monday, September 10, 2001 entitled “DOD Acquisition and Logistics Excellence Week Kickoff — Bureaucracy to Battlefield,” in which he said “According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.”

How many variety of voices over an extended period of time do we need before we heed their warnings?

His speech, in its entirety follows. Read the rest of this entry »

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Reasoned Debate: Our Second Amendment Rights & Preventing Firearm Violence

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, January 26, 2013

Alabama State House GOP "Dare Defend Our Rights" gun logo

Alabama State House GOP “Dare Defend Our Rights” gun logo, from the FaceBook page of Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn

Recently in another Social Media forum, a long-time friend had posted a link to a site operated for the Alabama State House GOP faction, which is a so-called “supermajority” in that state’s elected legislative body. That site may be found here: http://ALHouseGOP.com/WeDareDefend/.

Perceiving that that those political ideologues were very likely drumming up support for their positions based upon pure emotion and fear, rather than reasoned, rational and informed debate, I initially responded by quickly writing a somewhat sarcastic response, precisely worded to give pause for thought. My initial response elicited a query, to which I delightfully replied more eruditely.

The exchange as it exists presently, now follows.

Me: Yeah. Alabama was wrong on their right to segregation and their right to deny civil rights, too.

Friend: So, do you support the Read the rest of this entry »

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Fraud, Waste and Abuse… in the Pentagon. Is ANYONE surprised?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, January 13, 2013

Here’s the one-liner you’ll remember, albeit one with significant truth:

“There’s more pork in the Pentagon budget than a Smithfield corporate hog farm feedlot in North Carolina.”

Or, if you prefer:

“There’s more pork in the Pentagon budget than a Paula Deen Christmas recipe.”

And if the Pentagon budget were a recipe, it’d be a recipe for disaster.

The budget for the United States Department of Defense accounts for very nearly 6% of our nation’s budget. It is THE SINGLE LARGEST BUDGET ITEM in the entire budget. The amount of money sifting through the Pentagon’s hands is more than the combined defense budgets of the world’s top 15 wealthiest nations. And, it accounts for 4.7% of our nation’s economy. Late former President Dwight David Eisenhower was spot-on accurate in his Farewell Address to the nation 17 January 1961 when he warned us saying:

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

None of this is to say, of course, that any kind of spending on national defense is somehow a bad thing, for it is not. Yet Eisenhower specifically warned about even the spiritual implications of the DoD spending “Gone Wild.” However, the last time the people, the Congress, the President or anyone else – including the Comptroller General, the Office of the DoD Inspector General, or the Secretary of Defense ever said anything about being budget hawks on the use of the people’s taxes was September 10, 2001 when SecDef Donald Rumsfeld spoke to the Department of Defense, and announced that the Department of Defense “cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” Not only was that money MIA, but he added that…

“The technology revolution has transformed organizations across the private sector, but not ours, not fully, not yet. We are, as they say, tangled in our anchor chain. Our financial systems are decades old. According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. We cannot share information from floor to floor in this building because it’s stored on dozens of technological systems that are inaccessible or incompatible.

“We maintain 20 to 25 percent more base infrastructure than we need to support our forces, at an annual waste to taxpayers of some $3 billion to $4 billion. Fully half of our resources go to infrastructure and overhead, and in addition to draining resources from warfighting, these costly and outdated systems, procedures and programs stifle innovation as well. A new idea must often survive the gauntlet of some 17 levels of bureaucracy to make it from a line officer’s to my desk. I have too much respect for a line officer to believe that we need 17 layers between us.”
-Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, September 10, 2001

He discovered $2.3 Trillion in the DoD budget of taxpayer monies which had no accounting. It was “Missing In Action.” The next day, the World Trade Centers suffered terrorist attacks. We never heard anything ever again. [Read the text of his speech here: http://www.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=430]

Here’s a video of the CBS news report.

And now, here’s a jet plane that is the veritable aircraft version of a Jack-of-all-Trades-and-Master-of-None, which our nation’s military has previously said they do not need, and already have other more durable, reliable and operable aircraft. And this is a thing that they have continuously said they want, rather than need.

Wants and needs are two entirely different things.

And not only that, but that the entire bidding process related to Defense contracts is fraught with cost overruns, late deliveries and more – all of which would NOT be, and is NOT tolerated in private enterprise. And yet, we somehow think that the sacred cow of Pentagon spending is somehow exempted from the normal rules of operation.

And now, with the budget items heating up again, it would be ludicrously preposterous to presume that the sacred cow of Pentagon slush funds slop trough is in pristine condition.

Other agencies, like American businesses and families throughout, have learned to live within their means, and make do with less.

Why can’t the Pentagon?

F-35 Marine Model Stress Testing Halted Over Cracks

By Tony Capaccio – Jan 12, 2013

Durability testing on the most complicated version of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s (LMT) F-35 was halted last month after “multiple” cracks were discovered in the fighter jet, according to the Pentagon’s testing office.

The previously undisclosed halt in high-stress ground testing involves the F-35B, Read the rest of this entry »

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Could the Price of Milk go to $13 per gallon? If the “Fiscal Cliff” is not avoided, yes.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 31, 2012

This Do-Nothing Congress is, without question, the absolutely WORST Congress EVER!

More filibustering & taxes, less law-making, less-governance.

That must be what they mean when they talk about “smaller government,” or “less laws.”

Farm-State Lawmakers Back Plan to Avoid ‘Dairy Cliff’ Price Jump

By Alan Bjerga & Derek Wallbank – Dec 31, 2012 12:01 AM ET

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow are backing a short-term extension of a farm law that lapsed Sept. 30 as the Obama administration warns that without congressional action, retail milk prices could almost double.

“I would hope that as soon as is humanly possible, a decision will be made to allow us to take action” on the extension, Lucas told reporters off the House floor. “We need to take positive action, put this issue to rest, and make sure that it is clear to everybody in this country that the farm bill policy has certainty and that we will not have $8 or $9 milk.”

The proposal is one of three farm-related draft bills released over the weekend in the House of Representatives; all of them would stave off the potential jump in consumer milk prices should government commodity programs begin to lapse tomorrow. Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The proposal is one of three farm-related draft bills released over the weekend in the House of Representatives; all of them would stave off the potential jump in consumer milk prices should government commodity programs begin to lapse tomorrow. Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The proposal is one of three farm-related draft bills released over the weekend in the House of Representatives; all of them would stave off the potential jump in consumer milk prices should government commodity programs begin to lapse tomorrow. Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The draft bill would extend current law, along with disaster aid for producers affected by this year’s U.S. drought and changes to current milk policy, through Sept. 30. It would reduce mandatory outlays by $30 million through fiscal 2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The bulk of the spending would come in the first year, and as such it would actually increase spending by an estimated $555 million through fiscal 2017.

Other Bills

The proposal is one of three farm-related draft bills released over the weekend in the House of Representatives; all of them would stave off the potential jump in consumer milk prices should government commodity programs begin to lapse tomorrow.

The second measure would extend most of the current law through Jan. 31, and the third would protect only against possible dairy-price spikes. Those two are opposed by House and Senate Democratic agriculture leaders. Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, called a 30-day extension a “poor joke on farmers that offers no certainty.”

The most recent farm law, enacted in 2008, expired after attempts to pass a new five-year proposal failed. Without that plan, agricultural programs automatically return to rules passed in 1949, the basis of all subsequent legislation.

The effects of that transition have been delayed because of the growing seasons of different crops. Dairy production, a year-round business, is the first major commodity affected. In November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama’s Two Greatest Problems: Ignorance & Apathy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, November 8, 2012

Not too long ago, I asked someone – just an average person, someone unknown to me – what they thought were Alabama’s two greatest problems.

Their amazing response was “I don’t know, and I don’t care.”

Naturally, that was the correct answer.

The problem was, that those were the problems – ignorance and apathy.

Of course, that Read the rest of this entry »

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Draught Raises Corn Price, Milk Profits fall, Cows get Slaughtered

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Regardless whether global climate change is man-made, or cyclical… it’s going to affect us all, and we would be wise to DO SOMETHING to PRESERVE, PROTECT and DEFEND ourselves NOW!

Milk-Cow Drought Culling Accelerates as Prices Jump: Commodities

U.S. milk production is headed for the biggest contraction in 12 years as a drought-fueled surge in feed costs drives more cows to slaughter.

Output will drop 0.5 percent to 198.9 billion pounds (90.2 million metric tons) in 2013 as the herd shrinks to an eight- year low, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. Milk futures rose 45 percent since mid-April and may advance at least another 19 percent to a record $25 per 100 pounds by June, said Shawn Hackett. The president of Boynton Beach, Florida-based Hackett Financial Advisers Inc. correctly predicted the rally in March.

Dairies in California, the top milk-producing state, are filing for bankruptcy, and U.S. cows are being slaughtered at the fastest rate in more than a quarter century. Corn surged to a record in August as the USDA forecast the smallest crop in six years because of drought across the U.S. Global dairy prices tracked by the United Nations rose 6.9 percent last month, the most among the five food groups monitored, and that will probably mean record costs next year, Rabobank estimates.

“Farmers can’t afford to buy as much grain and protein, and that affects milk production,” said Bob Cropp, an economist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison who has been following the industry since 1966. “In California, there’ve been some foreclosures and some sell-off of cows quite heavily. You’re going to see that in other parts of the country.”

Mercantile Exchange

Class III milk, used to make cheese, jumped 22 percent to $21.05 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange this year. That’s more than 21 of the 24 commodities in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index, which rose 1.8 percent. The MSCI All-Country World Index (MXWD) of equities climbed 12 percent, and Treasuries Read the rest of this entry »

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Republicans: Let’s fly to Israel, eat fancy food, drink Dom Pérignon champagne, and swim nekkid!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hey!

I know!

Let’s get lobbyists to pay for a trip to Israel where we can eat fancy food, drink Dom Pérignon champagne, and swim nekkid!

You know, it’d be funny if it weren’t first so sad… because it’s all true.

Every Dogdamn bit of it.

—-

August 21, 2012

Skinny-Dipping in Israel Casts Unwanted Spotlight on Congressional Travel

By and

WASHINGTON — The trip was much like any of the hundreds hosted in recent years by a nonprofit offshoot of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful Washington lobby, and the purpose was much the same: to solidify the support of American lawmakers for Israel at a time of Middle East tumult.

For eight all expense-paid days, House Republicans visited Israel’s holiest sites, talked foreign policy with its highest officials and dined at its most famous restaurants, including Decks, known for its grilled beef, stunning views of the Sea of Galilee, and now, for an impromptu swim party.

With hundreds of Washington lawmakers having gone to Israel courtesy of the program, the trips have a reputation as being the standard-bearer for foreign Congressional travel. “We call it the Jewish Disneyland trip,” said one pro-Israel advocate in Washington.

But for lawmakers, the attention surrounding last summer’s trip — thanks to reports of a skinny-dipping Kansas lawmaker who was part of the delegation —  has Read the rest of this entry »

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Led by GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner, Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing your “Do Nothing Congress” of 2012

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Republican obstructionism, or Republican obstructionism?

So far this year, lawmakers have staged 195 roll-call votes, which boils down to only about 60 pieces of legislation, including post-office namings.

Among them are:
● The Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act.
● The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012.
● Legislation requiring the Treasury to mint coins commemorating the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Marshals Service.
● The World War II Memorial Prayer Act.
● The Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act.

Because the Democrats lack a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, they can bring virtually nothing to a vote without the blessing of the Republicans. Even with that hurdle, the Senate has been able to slog through a few bills in recent weeks, including Read the rest of this entry »

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How to End This Depression

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 29, 2012

It’s been said that ‘everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.’

The distinguished Dr. Krugman – who accurately foretold in 2001 that the “Bush Tax Cuts” would create significant deficit (and they did) – understands the role of government in providing opportunity for entrepreneurs and private enterprise, and the equally important role that government has in responsibility to protect public health and safety.

The long and short of it is this: Government spending on economic infrastructure (including education) is a good investment because it yields significant immediate and long-term results.

Why?

Because Materials and Manpower ALWAYS come from the private sector.

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the aforementioned premise, and the numerous times about which I have written in detail about the same. This entry illustrates with three excellent examples of that principle.

Naysayers and critics miss one very important factor in their analogy, which is that the Federal government has the power and authority to print money. The way that factor relates to the issue at hand is this: While the government could – in theory, and in reality – print enough money to give $10,000 to every man, woman and child in this nation the net effect of so doing would be to devalue the money, which would be resulting from inflation.

How to correct, resolve or work within the guidelines of that factor is to understand that one very important role of government is to provide OPPORTUNITY for entrepreneurs and private enterprise. By providing opportunity, government is also encouraging private enterprise and entrepreneurship. And, for the strict Constitutionalists, courts have continued to uphold and acknowledge that such power is contained within the Preamble’s clause “to promote the general welfare.”

Further, for the “anti-Big Government” naysayers, it is preposterous (contrary to reason or common sense; utterly absurd or ridiculous) to imagine that, in this era, with every technological advance, invention and discovery which has been made since 1776, and with our population (now approaching 312,000,000), that we would have fewer laws, rules and regulations than when we first began.

And, for those who say we should balance our budget, I would agree. However, I hasten to point out, that the last time that was done was under Eisenhower and LBJ. That does not excuse us from an ongoing civil discussion and debate about how to effectively manage our nation’s budget. Perhaps a formula of some type which would take into account GDP, debt (outstanding Treasury notes), trade deficit, population growth, birth rate, and other factors – with an “escape” mechanism for times of civil emergency or war, of course.

For such, we need technocrats – experts in areas of operations – rather than bureaucrats. Perhaps in an advisory role. But then again, we have those.

So… why don’t we work together as we ought?

Politics.

It seems that “Everybody’s got something to hide except for me and my monkey.”

How to End This Depression

May 24, 2012

Paul Krugman

The depression we’re in is essentially gratuitous: we don’t need to be suffering so much pain and destroying so many lives. We could end it both more easily and more quickly than anyone imagines—anyone, that is, except those who have actually studied the economics of depressed economies and the historical evidence on how policies work in such economies.
Obama in Master Lock factory Milwaukee

President Obama on a tour of the Master Lockfactory in Milwaukee with the company’s senior vice-president, Bon Rice, February 2012; Susan Walsh/AP Images

The truth is that recovery would be almost ridiculously easy to achieve: all we need is to reverse the austerity policies of the past couple of years and temporarily boost spending. Never mind all the talk of how we have a long-run problem that can’t have a short-run solution—this may sound sophisticated, but it isn’t. With a boost in spending, we could be back to more or less full employment faster than anyone imagines.

But don’t we have to worry about long-run budget deficits? Keynes wrote that “the boom, not the slump, is the time for austerity.” Now, as I argue in my forthcoming book*—and show later in the data discussed in this article—is the time for the government to spend more until the private sector is ready to carry the economy forward again. At that point, the US would be in a far better position to deal with deficits, entitlements, and the costs of financing them.

Meanwhile, the strong measures that would all go a long way toward lifting us out of this depression should include, among other policies, increased federal aid to state and local governments, which would restore the jobs of many public employees; a more aggressive approach by the Federal Reserve to quantitative easing (that is, purchasing bonds in an attempt to reduce long-term interest rates); and less timid efforts by the Obama administration to reduce homeowner debt.

But some readers will wonder, isn’t a recovery program along the lines I’ve described just out of the question as a political matter? And isn’t advocating such a program a waste of time? My answers to these two questions are: not necessarily, and definitely not. The chances of a real turn in policy, away from the austerity mania of the last few years and toward a renewed focus on job creation, are much better than conventional wisdom would have you believe. And recent experience also teaches us a crucial political lesson: Read the rest of this entry »

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Uruguayan government to sell marijuana to registered buyers

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The United States has spent billions up on billions in the so-called “Drug War” which was started by Richard Nixon, and over the years, the only thing it’s gotten us, is deeper in debt.

All the while, murdering narcotrafficking international criminal enterprises have arisen and grown by leaps and bounds. With them, hundreds of thousands of lives have been unnecessarily lost in the process, both innocents and those directly involved in trafficking.

Prisons have been overcrowded – worse even than sardines in a can. And that has cost us equally dearly.

Again, there are few signs that use of illicit narcotics have declined, but rather, they have increased.

And that is just in the United States, which is perceived by many – and very well may be – to be the world’s major consumer of illicit narcotics. Further, the sale of illicit narcotics – including marijuana – has funded international terrorism, including alQaeda.

Not good.

We must embark upon a path which will decrease use of illicit narcotics, which ultimately harms everyone. And to embark upon that path, we must engage in honest, and forthright dialogue. The greatest obstruction to that, is the current level of impasse in our Congress – House and Senate.

We must change.

Change, we must.

Or, we shall all perish.

Uruguay plan to let gov’t sell marijuana

By PABLO FERNANDEZ, Associated Press – 2 hours ago

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Uruguay’s national government said Wednesday it hopes to fight a growing crime problem by selling marijuana to citizens registered to buy it, and will send a bill to Congress that would make it the first country in the world to do so.

Under the plan, only the government would be allowed to sell marijuana and only to adults who register on a government database, letting officials keep track of their purchases over time.

Minister of Defense Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro told reporters in Montevideo that Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s true. The GOP is radical to the point of sickness.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 27, 2012

In conversation with local entrepreneurs yesterday, they mentioned to me someone known by, and close to them. His political sensibilities – if they could be described as such – have almost destroyed his personal life.

His attitudes, which guide his behavior, have alienated family members, his spouse, and other loved ones in his life. He was described as a very negative and vitriolic individual, whom is almost paranoid delusional in his political beliefs. Not only has his thoughts and behaviors almost destroyed his personal life, but it has taken a significant toll on his professional life, as well – that is, the way he makes his money, which is as an entrepreneur.

You see, when one becomes almost nothing but a venomous, fuming, boiling pot of vitriolic negativity, which neither has anything good to say about anyone or anything… well, no one wants to be around people like that.

Not surprisingly, he was described as a Republican Tea Party type, who religiously listened to ilk like Rush Limbaugh, and the like.

Bear in mind, that does not accurately describe all Republicans.

There’s a saying which is apropos in this instance, and in the story below: “You can catch more flies with honey, than you can with vinegar.”

Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.

By Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, Friday, April 27, 10:46 AM

Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course, it’s not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to say something outrageous. What made West’s comment — right out of the McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s — so striking was the almost complete lack of condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates.

It’s not that the GOP leadership agrees with West; it is that such extreme remarks and views are now taken for granted.

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose Read the rest of this entry »

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