Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Working Toward A Change In American Foreign Policy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, August 28, 2021

As you read this OpEd, initially, it seems to move toward the idea of nation building, but then, directs itself toward more direct involvement Congressional management and oversight of foreign policy, the constitutionally-mandated Separation of Powers, encourages a SCOTUS decision on the extent of Presidential War Powers, and curtailing the use Executive action to enact foreign policy by skirting such oversight, asserting that Executive diplomacy is not a formal treaty, and therefore not subject to Congressional oversight.

In short, while illustrating problems in American foreign policy through Executive action, it places the onus of responsibility upon Congress, where it rightfully belongs, and relegates the President’s role to primarily one of public persuasion in such matters.

Ours is a constitutional democratic republic, and we should act like it, rather than falling prey to “the grandiose belief” … of the “irresistible the siren call of personal diplomacy” by Presidents.A


What Trump’s Disgraceful Deal With the Taliban Has Wrought

by Dr. Kori Schake, PhD
August 28, 2021

Dr. Schake is Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, and Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Before joining AEI, Dr. Schake was the Deputy Director-General of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. She has had a distinguished career in government, working at the US State Department, the US Department of Defense, and the National Security Council at the White House. She has also taught at Stanford, West Point, Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, National Defense University, and the University of Maryland.

The American Enterprise Institute is an independent, non-profit, public policy think tank dedicated to defending human dignity, expanding human potential, and building a freer and safer world.

The work of their scholars and staff advances ideas rooted in their belief in democracy, free enterprise, American strength and global leadership, solidarity with those at the periphery of our society, and a pluralistic, entrepreneurial culture.

AEI scholars are committed to making the intellectual, moral, and practical case for expanding freedom, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening the free enterprise system in America and around the world. Their work explores ideas that further those goals, and AEI scholars take part in this pursuit with academic freedom. AEI operates independently of any political party and has no institutional positions. Their scholars’ conclusions are fueled by rigorous, data-driven research and broad-ranging evidence.


Believing you’re uniquely capable of bending things to your will is practically a requirement for becoming president of the United States. But too often, in pursuit of such influence over foreign policy, presidents overemphasize the importance of personal diplomacy. Relationships among leaders can build trust — or destroy it — but presidents often overrate their ability to steer both allies and adversaries.

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev had built such a solid relationship that during the Reykjavik summit most of Reagan’s administration worried he would agree to an unverifiable elimination of nuclear weapons. Bill Clinton believed his personal diplomacy could deliver Palestinian statehood and Russian acceptance of NATO expansion. George W. Bush believed he looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and saw his soul, and Barack Obama believed he could persuade Mr. Putin it wasn’t in Russia’s interests to determine the outcome of the war in Syria.

But in both hubris and folly, none come close to matching Donald Trump. For someone who prided himself on his abilities as a dealmaker and displayed an “I alone can fix it” arrogance, the agreement he made with the Taliban is one of the most disgraceful diplomatic bargains on record. Coupled with President Biden’s mistakes in continuing the policy and botching its execution, the deal has now led to tragic consequences for Americans and our allies in Kabul.

Mr. Trump’s handling of Afghanistan is an object lesson for why presidents of both parties need to be Read the rest of this entry »

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The Real Questions On Kabul’s Rapid Fall

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Lawmakers unwilling to admit their own errors, claim to be shocked at the Taliban’s rapid coup of Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul, its capitol city, and a very public takeover of the nation’s presidential palace, are feigning dismay at what they blame as “failures” either by/from the intelligence community, or military, or both.

The “Blame Game” is a long-running, well-known, and popular political pastime among the Beltway insiders crowd. And, if you’re an elected official, regardless your party affiliation, lack thereof, or political philosophy, you’re a Beltway Insider.

As I opined in a previous entry,

I applaud POTUS BIDEN for ceasing the 20-year failed social experiment of the sociocultural-political elites – those with high-powered degrees from Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, and others (no disrespect to the institutions, or to education) — who built their careers, increased their fortunes, and padded their CV’s playing “nation building” with practically unlimited American tax dollars (we’ve burned a TOTAL of at least $2.6 TRILLION on that good-for-nothing wasteland hell-hole money that COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER SPENT HELPING OUR NATION, OUR PEOPLE), using the “expendable” lives of men and women from rural America and elsewhere far removed from the ivory-towered intelligentsia, all in the erstwhile hopes that somehow, they could foist upon a people a liberal democracy — by force, if necessary — who have no interest in such a type of government.

Our nation is upon a dangerous precipice, of having fallen sway to the narrow handful of ivory-towered Ivy-Leagued sociocultural-political elites who have Read the rest of this entry »

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Oregon US Representative Earl Blumenauer Introduces Blueprint to Legalize Marijuana

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, June 17, 2021

PREDICTION:

Cannabis WILL be legalized within the next 6 – 8 months at the Federal level.

As state after state, and nation after nation is legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis in one form, or another, the United States is facing a decision which was made nearly 100 years ago to make illegal a practically harmless substance, which itself has shown, and continues to show significant promise for the amelioration of serious disease, malady, and human suffering.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, in their 2017 “Drugs of Abuse” report,

“No deaths from overdose of marijuana have been reported.”

The National Cancer Institute has written that it’s impossible to overdose on cannabis, because our body’s cannabinoid receptors — the chemicals that bind to THC — are not located in areas of the brainstem that control respiration. For that reason, a “lethal dose” of cannabis is like the flying spaghetti monster: It DOES NOT EXIST.

In stark contrast, the CDC has stated in January 2018 that

excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths.

Significantly greater lethality comes from tobacco use, and in April 2018, the CDC stated that

cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year.

In 1972, the Schaffer Commission, officially, the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, issued a report entitled Marihuana: A signal of misunderstanding which was the first report by the United States Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, was largely dismissive of specious claims that there was danger in its use, and recommended ending marijuana prohibition and adopting other methods to discourage use.

Specifically, it debunked false claims made about cannabis, and found that, contrary to earlier assertions made about during efforts to keep it illegal,

“marihuana was usually found to inhibit the expression of aggressive impulses by pacifying the user.”

It stated further that,

“neither informed current professional opinion nor empirical research, ranging from the 1930’s to the present, has produced systematic evidence to support the thesis that marihuana use, by itself, either invariably or generally leads to or causes crime, including acts of violence, juvenile delinquency or aggressive behavior.”

Another infamously false claim that marijuana use caused “insanity,” was similarly debunked, and the Commission wrote that

“previous estimates of marihuana’s role in causing crime and insanity were based on quite erroneous information.”

They even warned that
maintaining cannabis’ illegal status
“carries heavy social costs”
and that
“the better method {to discourage its use}
is persuasion
rather than prosecution.”

And in fact, they wrote that “we reject the total prohibition approach and its variations” and instead recommended “a decriminalization of possession of marihuana for personal use on both the state and federal levels.”

A portion of their recommendation was regulation, and wrote in part that “by establishing a legitimate channel of supply and distribution, society can theoretically control the quality and potency of the product.”

Of course, none of the recommendations were followed, and instead, Nixon, the paranoid president who maintained an “enemies list” (and recorded conversations, and narrowly missed criminal indictment, for which reason he resigned the Presidency), initiated his now-infamously-failed “War on Drugs,” and kept marijuana listed on Schedule I.

Nixon’s Domestic Policy Advisor, John Erlichman (1925-1999), was quoted by Dan Baum in Harper’s Magazine April 2016, and said the following of Nixon’s War on Drugs:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968,
and the Nixon White House after that,
had two enemies:
The antiwar left and Black people.
You understand what I’m saying?
We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be
either against the war or Black,
but by getting the public to
associate the hippies with marijuana
and Blacks with heroin,
and then criminalizing both heavily,
we could disrupt those communities.
We could arrest their leaders,
raid their homes,
break up their meetings,
and vilify them night after night on the evening news.
Did we know we were lying about the drugs?
Of course we did.”

Such statements seem to very clearly suggest that laws prohibiting cannabis consumption were left in place for one purpose alone, and that is to use the instrument of law to keep under foot those who might be socially undesirable – most notably, the poor, and ethnic minorities – and that is an egregious abuse of law, and contradicts almost every idea of equality under law in our Constitution.

Our Federal government, along with State and Local governments, regulates and taxes beverage Alcohol and Tobacco (which is 2/3 of the ATF’s name), and does so successfully, and in the process, generates significant revenue for all three levels of governments. Along with that, entrepreneurial enterprises in those two industries hire almost countless numbers of people, and generate significant revenue nationally, and globally through export.

The Libertarian think-tank Cato Institute, in their statement which decries that which they call the “nanny state,” quotes late, former POTUS Ronald Reagan in former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s book “The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World,” as having said, “Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.” (Penguin Press, Chapter 4, (p. 87), 2007.)

In keeping with the overall sentiment expressed in the Shafer Commission report, Read the rest of this entry »

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Moscow Mitch McConnell Redux As Senate “Grim Reaper”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 26, 2021

“Some folks just need killin’.”


Moscow Mitch McConnell Redux As Senate “Grim Reaper”

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/555877-mcconnell-returns-as-senate-grim-reaper

By Alexander Bolton, 05/29/21 05:52 AM EDT

Too bad he didn’t hit his head and die. The world would have been much better off without “Moscow” Mitch McConnell, seen here as then-Kentucky Republican Senate Majority Leader proudly displaying the Nike brand athletic shoes which he blames for his fall which ironically, injured his LEFT shoulder.

The Senate’s self-proclaimed “Grim Reaper” has returned.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of KY is keeping his Republican conference largely unified, and it’s creating major obstacles to President Biden’s legislative agenda.

McConnell has maintained the loyalty of his fellow GOP senators despite repeated attacks by former President Trump, who has called on Senate Republicans to oust him as their leader.

And it was McConnell’s opposition to a House-passed bill establishing a bipartisan January 6 commission that snuffed out the legislation in the Senate on Friday.

One GOP senator said the measure would have garnered enough votes to pass the chamber and eventually land on POTUS Biden’s desk had McConnell not gotten involved.

“The vote on the commission would have had 60 votes in the absence of McConnell’s position,” said the Republican lawmaker who ended up voting against the bill.

The senator said the vote outcome was a good example of just how influential McConnell is in the conference.

McConnell warned GOP senators at a Republican lunch earlier this week that Read the rest of this entry »

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Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Green, and other House GOPers, Seek to Defund Police

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 30, 2021

Banana Republicans are 100% pure hypocrites.


Matt Gaetz

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz (CD-1) and a group of other House Republicans on Friday, 30 April 2021 introduced legislation to defund the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, a law enforcement and investigative arm of U.S. Postal Service.

The legislation, “H.R.2921 – To prohibit funds from being used to implement the Internet Covert Operations Program under the United States Postal Inspection Service, and for other purposes,” was in response to a March bulletin distributed by the Postal Service’s Inspection Service’s Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP), and reported by Yahoo News earlier this month. The bulletin cited the Postal Inspection Service’s concerns about potential “significant” likely violent protests planned for March 20 based upon “online inflammatory material,” and possible threats to the integrity and security of the U.S. Mail System, in conjunction with posts on radical right-wing social media platforms Parler and Telegram.

American intelligence agencies have debriefed Congress and issued reports about the serious threat to national security posed by domestic terrorists, particularly White supremacists, neo-Nazis and other racist groups such as Proud Boys, and others, following their concerted attack upon Congress on January 6, 2021 as they were performing their Constitutionally-mandated duties by certifying election results. Those groups, and others sympathetic with them, primarily used the radical right-wing social media platforms Parler and Telegram to coordinate their efforts, and attack.

Louie Gohmert-TX 1

Paul Gosar

“iCOP analysts are Read the rest of this entry »

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Matt Gaetz: Another Drowning Rat From Trump’s Sunken Ship

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

He’s a “Florida Man” to be certain, and his Twitter bio states as much. He’s the moral equivalent of Jeffrey Epstein. His “NAY” vote was the EXCLUSIVE – the SOLITARY – the ONLY vote against a human sex trafficking bill. And his flimsy “excuse” or rationale why, is as weak as water. He’ll be out soon as just another worthless, hypocritical, flash-in-the-pan piece of GOP garbage.


Matt Gaetz, On The Ropes From Juvenile Sex Trafficking Investigation, Finds Few Friends In The GOP

by Juliegrace Brufke & Mike Lillis
03/31/21 05:33 PM EDT

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/545850-gaetz-on-the-ropes-finds-few-friends-in-gop

In four years on Capitol Hill, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has experienced a meteoric rise to national prominence — one fueled by a close alliance with former President Trump, a penchant for political theatrics and a no-apologies brand of conservatism that’s made him a darling of the right-wing cable outlets.

Matt Gaetz now – with a slicked-back pompadour, and snazzy suit.

Yet this week, facing a federal investigation into allegations of a sexual relationship with an underage girl, Gaetz is finding himself in an unusual spot: On the ropes and virtually alone.

Few of Gaetz’s GOP colleagues are coming to the defense of the third-term Floridian following a New York Times report that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct with — and interstate trafficking of — a minor roughly two years ago. And a number of Republicans, while warning against jumping to premature conclusions about Gaetz’s conduct, also suggested they wouldn’t miss him if he were gone.

“I don’t know anything about this situation other than to say he has certainly made enemies and painted a bull’s-eye on his back,” said one Republican lawmaker, who requested anonymity to speak freely on a sensitive topic. “This appears to be a self-inflicted wound.”

Gaetz has vehemently denied that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old-girl — the central allegation of the Justice Department probe, which was launched under the Trump administration. Gaetz contends that he and his family have been targeted by a former DOJ official in an extortion scheme seeking millions of dollars to have the allegations vanish.

In a series of tweets, statements and media interviews Tuesday evening, he maintained that Read the rest of this entry »

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Matt Gaetz Is A Sexual Predator?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

https://clerk.house.gov/Votes/2017695?Title=human%20trafficking

Kinda’ “ironic,” wouldn’t you say, that the QAnon conspiracy theory folks who wrongly thought, and therefore targeted the Democrats for alleged involvement in some global child sex-trafficking cabal have sided with the exact ones who are actually participating in that very activity… Republicans.

Remember: Psychological projection – accusing others of the thing you’re guilty of – is a tool/technique extensively employed not only by the GOP, but in droves by the 45th President.

BTW… Matt Gaetz’ official actions as a Member of Congress are rather peculiar.

Matt Gaetz then…

In 2017, Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Fort Walton Beach representing FL’s 1st CD, was the ONLY member of Congress to vote “NAY” on a law that gave the Federal government more power and money to fight human trafficking – S.1536 – Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act.
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1536

THE ONLY ONE.

Vote Question: On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass
Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act

Matt Gaetz now – with a slicked-back pompadour, cuff links, and snazzy suit.

Gaetz Republican Florida Nay

S.1536 – Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act
Roll Call Vote 695, December 19, 2017, 4:56PM ET
115th Congress, 1st Session
418 YEAS
1 NAY
12 NOT VOTING

NOT VOTING
Bridenstine Republican Oklahoma Not Voting
Brooks (AL) Republican Alabama Not Voting
Cummings Democratic Maryland Not Voting (was sick & getting treatment)

Kennedy Democratic Massachusetts Not Voting
Loudermilk Republican Georgia Not Voting
Messer Republican Indiana Not Voting

Napolitano Democratic California Not Voting
Pocan Democratic Wisconsin Not Voting
Renacci Republican Ohio Not Voting

Scalise Republican Louisiana Not Voting
Smith (TX) Republican Texas Not Voting
Thompson (MS) Democratic Mississippi Not Voting

See also: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2017/12/29/florida-rep-matt-gaetz-was-literally-the-only-person-to-vote-against-an-anti-human-trafficking-bill

See also: https://crooksandliars.com/2021/03/matt-gaetz-under-investigation-federal

Note this: Gaetz tweeted that his father was wearing a “wire” by the FBI.
Why would he broadcast that information, thereby spoiling the investigation?


Matt Gaetz Is Said to Be Investigated Over Possible Sexual Relationship With a Girl, 17

by Michael S. Schmidt, Katie Benner
March 30, 2021, Updated 6:52 p.m. ET
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/30/us/politics/matt-gaetz-sex-trafficking-investigation.html

Republican Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, age 38, a close ally of former President Donald J. Trump, is being investigated by the United States Department of Justice over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him, according to three people briefed on the matter, who also said that Federal officials are investigating whether, or not, Mr. Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws.

Representatives for the Justice Department and the F.B.I. Read the rest of this entry »

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Should there be a law… v2.0

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

More questions!

In our last installment – “Should there be a law… ” – we asked 14 questions.

This time, we’re asking a few more.

Actually, 3.4285 times more.

And, that’d be 48.

We’re asking 48 questions this time.

So… what do you think?

Should there be a law (or laws) that addresses these matters?


1.) Should cash transactions involving United States real estate be subject to anti-money laundering laws?

2.) Should Congress examine the money laundering and terrorist financing risks in the real estate market, including the role of anonymous parties, and review legislation to address any vulnerabilities?

3.) Should Congress examine the methods by which corruption flourishes and the means to detect and deter the financial misconduct that fuels that driver of global instability?

4.) Should Congress monitor government efforts to enforce United States anti-corruption laws and regulations?

5.) Should United States elections be free of interference from foreign governments, including any contribution, donation, expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication by a corporation, limited liability corporation, or partnership, and should they file with the Federal Election Commission, under penalty of perjury, a statement that a foreign national did not direct, dictate, control, or directly or indirectly participate in the decision making process relating to such activity?

6.) Should foreign nationals be forbidden from participating in any way in the decisionmaking processes of Corporate PACs and Super PACs?

7.) Shall the Federal Election Commission conduct an audit after each Federal election cycle to determine the incidence of illicit foreign money in such Federal election cycle?

8.) In order to prevent money laundering, and improper spending, should corporations, labor organizations, and certain other entities be required to report campaign-related disbursements aggregating more than $10,000 in an election reporting cycle, and not later than 24 hours after each disclosure date file a report of the same with the Federal Election Commission?

9.) Should that report identify each such legal entity and each such beneficial owner who will use that other entity to exercise control over the entity, and the name and address of each person who made such payment?

10.) Should commercial transactions in the ordinary course of any trade or business conducted by the covered organization be exempted from such reports?

11.) Should the integrity of American democracy and national security be enhanced by improving disclosure requirements for online political advertisements in order to uphold the Supreme Court’s well-established standard that the electorate bears the right to be fully informed?

12.) Should regulations on political advertisements provide sufficient transparency to uphold the public’s right to be fully informed about political advertisements made online?

13.) Should transparency of funding for political advertisements be essential to enforce other campaign finance laws, including the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals?

14.) Should digital or online political advertising clearly state who paid for it?

15.) In order to prevent fraud, deceit, and money-laundering, should platforms that sell political advertising be required to maintain records of transactions?

16.) When political advertising is paid for with a credit card by a citizen of the United States who is living outside the country, should they be required to be identified as a United States citizen to the seller by providing the United States address they use for voter registration purposes?

17.) Should broadcast stations, providers of cable and satellite television, and online platforms be required to make reasonable efforts to ensure that political communications made available by such station, provider, or platform are not purchased by a foreign national, directly or indirectly?

18.) Should pre-recorded telephone and video calls made for political purposes announce the political nature of the call at the beginning of the call?

19.) Should shareholders of corporations have the right to know that their money is being spent for political campaigns, and the details of them?

20.) Should Presidential Inaugural Committees be prohibited from soliciting and accepting money from corporations and foreign interests, i.e. should the obtain money or funds from United States citizens only?

21.) Should Inaugural Committees shall file with a report with the Federal Election Commission disclosing any donation by an individual to the committee in an amount of $1,000 or more not later than 24 hours after the receipt of such donation?

22.) In order to protect the integrity of democracy and the electoral process, and to ensure political equality for all, should Read the rest of this entry »

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Should there be a law…

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

Let’s talk a few minutes about what should, and what should not be.

For example…


1.) • Should there be, and should Federal Judges abide by, “a code of conduct, which applies to each justice and judge of the United States”?

2.) • Should there be a DEDICATED ENFORCEMENT UNIT “within the counterespionage section of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice for the enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938”?

3.) • Should it be illegal “for any person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, to corruptly hinder, interfere with, or prevent another person from registering to vote or to corruptly hinder, interfere with, or prevent another person from aiding another person in registering to vote”?

4.) • Should “a State motor vehicle authority require each individual applying for a motor vehicle driver’s license in the State to indicate whether the individual resides in another State or resided in another State prior to applying for the license, and, if so, to identify the State involved; and to indicate whether the individual intends for the State to serve as the individual’s residence for purposes of registering to vote in elections for Federal office”?

5.) • Should it be illegal for a political party or another partisan organization to send mail to addresses of registered voters whom they have identified as likely to be unfriendly to their candidate, and then use all the undeliverable returned mail to make what is called a caging list to challenge voters when they show up at polls to vote?

6.) • Should the right of an individual who is a citizen of the United States to vote Read the rest of this entry »

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Impeachment v2.0 Day 3: The Devil Made Me Do It

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, February 12, 2021

“Trump told us to do it.”

Trump’s MAGA supporters rioter-insurrectionists who were assembled at the White House Ellipse Park January 6, 2021 quickly became violent exclusively because they believed that Trump was asking them to do so – that they were doing his bidding.

“He said, ‘Be there.’ So I went and I answered the call of my president.”

House Impeachment Managers cited social media posts, recorded video, and court documents which reflected as much.

Impeachment Managers also extensively documented that several months BEFORE the election, Trump was laying the groundwork for convincing his cult of followers that the November presidential election was fixed, and that his victory was stolen because of Read the rest of this entry »

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James A. Garfield on Separation of Church and State… in 1874

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 8, 2021

James A. Garfield

It’s always interesting to see how our forebears thought about certain fundamental matters to our nation’s governance. We have historians to guide us, who make it their life’s work to study, and investigate the men, women, and circumstances of their lives, and the times in which they lived. We can, and should be grateful to, and for, them; for they bring to life those things which, though they may seem dead, are still often, very much alive.

Following is an excerpt in whole, as found in the Congressional Record – a verbatim record of remarks made on the floor of the House of Representatives – of a statement made by then-Ohio Representative James A. Garfield, from the 19th Congressional District, who later became President of the United States, and was also, at age 50, ingloriously, the second President assassinated.

Interestingly, he survived being shot on July 2, but eventually succumbed to infection September 19, which was introduced by doctors who frequently inserted their unsterile hands into the wound in efforts to remove the bullet. Today, unless a bullet is lodged near a vital organ, or blood vessel, and is thought to possibly migrate, they’re left in situ (in place) because, the theory being, that the heat generated by firing kills any bacteria which may be introduced, and sometimes, cauterizes the wound.


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

I agree with everything that the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. E. R. Hoar] has said about Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Could there be anything more onerous?

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

No.

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

You read that correctly.

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

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

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

How about THEM apples, eh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOTHING!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TAX ALL CHURCHES!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERNAL SKEPTICISM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEATHERING A DOWNTURN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PURSUING AID

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A QUESTION OF NEED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

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

___

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

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

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GameStop? GameOn? Face It: The United States Has Two Sets Of Rules

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 1, 2021

Unless you’ve been in a cave in Tora Bora for the past week, or so, by now, you’ve probably heard of the Reddit/GameStop/Robinhood ordeal.

Here are the “players”:
• Vlad Tenev, CEO of the trading app Robinhood
• National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC)
• Day traders using the Robinhood app who also were participants in a Reddit group Wall Street Bets (properly as “r/wallstreetbets” – a forum called a “subreddit” on the popular website Reddit, which is a social platform and discussion group that also rates web content.)
• GameStop, a electronics/video game retailer

Robinhood (the company) became the target of widespread outrage last week after it stopped users from purchasing shares of GameStop, AMC, BlackBerry, and other so-called meme stocks that had significantly increased in price over the past week, which was fueled by WallStreetBets Reddit users.

The long and short of it (a most befitting pun, wouldn’t you say?) is that a no-fees stock brokrage company named Robinhood, which uses an app for a mobile device to effectuate trades, had ceased processing orders on a company named GameStop, which raised the hackles of some observers, including Elon Musk, and other news reporting groups.

The reason why Robinhood ceased activity on trades for GameStop, and other companies was because a loose-knit group of day trader investors in the subReddit forum WallStreetBets – which totals over 4 million strong, and describe themselves as “degenerates” – decided to take on the abuses of Wall Street power players, most typically as hedge funds.


A NOTE ABOUT HEDGE FUNDS:

Investopedia writes this about hedge funds:

Hedge funds are alternative investments using pooled funds that employ different strategies to earn active returns, or alpha, for their investors. Hedge funds may be aggressively managed or make use of derivatives and leverage in both domestic and international markets with the goal of generating high returns (either in an absolute sense or over a specified market benchmark).

It is important to note that hedge funds are generally only accessible to accredited investors as they require less SEC regulations than other funds. One aspect that has set the hedge fund industry apart is the fact that hedge funds face less regulation than mutual funds and other investment vehicles.

Each hedge fund is constructed to take advantage of certain identifiable market opportunities. Hedge funds use different investment strategies and thus are often classified according to investment style. There is substantial diversity in risk attributes and investments among styles.

Legally, hedge funds are most often set up as private investment limited partnerships that are open to a limited number of accredited investors and require a large initial minimum investment. Investments in hedge funds are illiquid as they often require investors to keep their money in the fund for at least one year, a time known as the lock-up period. Withdrawals may also only happen at certain intervals such as quarterly or bi-annually.

A former writer and sociologist Alfred Winslow Jones’s company, A.W. Jones & Co. launched the first hedge fund in 1949. It was while writing an article about current investment trends for Fortune in 1948 that Jones was inspired to try his hand at managing money. He raised $100,000 (including $40,000 out of his own pocket) and set forth to try to minimize the risk in holding long-term stock positions by short selling other stocks. This investing innovation is now referred to as the classic long/short equities model. Jones also employed leverage to enhance returns.

In 1952, Jones altered the structure of his investment vehicle, converting it from a general partnership to a limited partnership and adding a 20% incentive fee as compensation for the managing partner. As the first money manager to combine short selling, the use of leverage shared risk through a partnership with other investors and a compensation system based on investment performance, Jones earned his place in investing history as the father of the hedge fund.

Hedge funds went on to dramatically outperform most mutual funds in the 1960s and gained further popularity when a 1966 article in Fortune highlighted an obscure investment that outperformed every mutual fund on the market by double-digit figures over the previous year and by high double-digits over the previous five years.

High-profile money managers deserted the traditional mutual fund industry in droves in the early 1990s, seeking fame and fortune as hedge fund managers. Unfortunately, history repeated itself in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s as a number of high-profile hedge funds, including Robertson’s, failed in spectacular fashion.

Since that era, the hedge fund industry has grown substantially. Today the hedge fund industry is massive—total assets under management in the industry are valued at more than $3.2 trillion according to the 2018 Preqin Global Hedge Fund Report. Based on statistics from research firm Barclays hedge, the total number of assets under management for hedge funds jumped by 2335% between 1997 and 2018.


The hedge funds had all “shorted” GameStop, which is well-known tactic to make money by the failure of a stock – “failure,” defined as a reduced price. In this case, Wall Street hedge fund managers had all “shorted” GameStop, and others, waiting for the price to drop before they sold the shares they were holding.

In a “short” sale (as it pertains to Wall Street trading), an entity “borrows” a stock from its owner, and holds it for a period of time, in anticipation that its price will drop enough so that they can then sell it (return its purchase price to the owner), and pocket the difference. It’s not illegal, and has been done for quite some time.

As you might imagine, by so doing (shorting), a stock can significantly, and adversely be affected.

But… a short sale can “go bad,” and that’s what the 4 million+ members of the subReddit group WallStreetBets did – ruin the day (or even longer) of many vulture capitalists hedge fund managers by driving up the price per share of GameStop.

GameStop, which has the ticker symbol GME, and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has faced a decline in sales, 7 brokerages have issued twelve-month price objectives for GameStop’s shares which range from $3.50 to $33.00 per share. And on average, they expect GameStop’s per share stock price to be $11.93 in the next twelve months. That suggests that the stock has a possible downside of 96.3%.

For the last 5 years, GameStop stock price has been relatively stable, and only minimally changed, and has ranged from the lower $30 range to slightly over $4 per share. Their last dividend payment was March 14, 2019, which was $0.38 per share, which represented an increase from 2012 when it was $0.12 per share. Aside from the most recent price fluctuations, over its lifespan, GameStop’s price per share has ranged from $3.91 to $63.68 from February 2002 though August 2020.

At its highest, GameStop was valued at $483 per share on January 25, 2021. That’s where the Wall Street Bets Redditors (participants in Reddit) come into play. Their trading of the stock – specifically as purchases – drove up the stock to terrific heights, which in turn, caused problems with the hedge funds that held a short position on the stock – SIGNIFICANT problems.

In effect, the Redditors caused what’s called a “short squeeze” which is a market condition that occurs when investors who are betting against the stock (thinking it will fall in price) are forced to close out their position by buying the stock, which in turn, adds fuel to the fire.

So far this year, the Redditors have cost short-sellers over $19 billion in losses on GameStop alone. Much of Wall Street’s trades are now done by computer algorithm, which almost completely eliminates human involvement. So day traders, and others who may use apps to trade, are an anomaly in an otherwise almost-wholly automated market.

Melvin Capital, a roughly $12 billion hedge fund has suffered a more than 30% decline largely due to its short position in GameStop.

Maplelane Capital, another New York-based hedge fund, similarly faced a decline of about 30%, accoring to The Wall Street Journal’s report.

Andrew Left, a famed short-seller with Citron, also felt the heat from Reddit investors after he predicted last week that the stock would fall by 50%. He ultimately closed out his short in GameStop for a loss, as did Melvin Capital.

The epic short-squeeze in shares of GameStop last week focused attention upon the common practice of Payment For Order Flow by brokerage firms after Robinhood restricted trading in a handful of volatile stocks.

Payment For Order Flow (PFOF) is a practice in which brokerage firms are compensated to route their customers’ trading orders to certain market makers to execute the trades rather than directly to an exchange, which creates a potential conflict of interest between the brokerage and the customer.

The PFOF practice has enabled $0 commission trading, which was jump started by Robinhood’s launch in 2015, and was considered groundbreaking at the time when most investors had to pay upwards of $10 for every buy or sell order.

According to a SEC filing by Robinhood, they make a bulk of their money from the PFOF practice, and generated upwards of $100 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2020 from a number of market makers, including Citadel Securities.

Now, another free-trading brokerage firm is bucking the PFOF practice and shifting its business model to tipping.

In a blog post on Monday, Public.com said it would end the practice of selling its customers’ order flow to market makers, and would instead route them directly to exchanges like the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange.

The company issued a press release which stated in part that they would remove that inherent conflict of interest from their business model, “To align our incentives with those of our members, we will stop participating in the practice of PFOF and instead introduce a tipping feature on trades. Trades will remain commission-free and tipping is entirely optional.”

APEX, which is Public.com’s clearinghouse firm, was notified on January 30 of their intent to be taken off the “PFOF rails,” according to a blog post by the company, noting that all trade orders at the brokerage firm will be directly routed to exchanges for execution. The company said that transition away from PFOF and towards tipping could take a few weeks, but that “Transparency is a core pillar of building trust, and we think it’s important that we live up to our name. Direct routing to the exchanges is more expensive, and therefore we’re turning what used to be a revenue stream (PFOF) into a cost center and we’re optimistic that the difference will be offset by the optional tipping feature.”

Now, nearly every brokerage firm offers $0 commission trading.

But the PFOF practice is facing backlash from many, including venture capital investor Bill Gurley, who tweeted on Sunday, “If the SEC/government wants to ‘fix the plumbing’ the number one thing they should do is ban Payment for Order Flow.”

Gurley said that the practice “smells bad” and is already outlawed in the United Kingdom, and in Canada.


businessinsider.com

We’ve Seen This Before: The Current GameStop Drama Has Grassroots In The 2008 Housing Crash

by Liam O’Hara


• Main Street played by the rules, but Wall Street changed them mid-game.

• Retail traders on Reddit’s r/wallstreetbets had a simple buy-and-hold strategy for an overleveraged short position on GameStop held by Melvin Capital — until Wall Street shut it down.

• The game has been rigged all along and now it’s out in the open for all to see.

It’s been only a few days since news about the feud between Main Street and Wall Street entered the public’s awareness and the internet is already filled with more articles and stories about it than one could realistically hope to keep up with.

As a retail investor who bought a long position in GameStop (I am not a financial advisor, I just like the stock) only hours before its historic ascent, I only have my limited perspective and experience to offer. But, as a millennial who came of age during the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 — and decided to study finance and accounting specifically because of it — I believe I have a somewhat unique, but relatable viewpoint.

For many retail traders, GameStop was a chance to get in on the ground floor of an arguably undervalued stock with the added benefit of watching the high and mighty of Wall Street squirm after being caught in an embarrassing position.

We’ve been through this type of thing before.

It is impossible to escape the fact that many of these small-time traders have vivid memories of the financial equivalent of an atomic bomb that Wall Street and government regulators dropped on the world in 2008. In the fallout of the housing crisis, hundreds of millions of people’s lives were upended.

Save for a few, like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, many Wall Street banks came out ahead because of obscure and convoluted financial derivatives that left regular people holding the bag.

Unemployment skyrocketed, families’ houses were foreclosed on, pensions were decimated, and the middle class was suddenly forced to scrape by just to feed their families. To add insult to injury, the federal government awarded these same banks $700 billion dollars of taxpayer money because they were “too big to fail.”

I was only 18 years old then and didn’t understand much about what was happening, but seeing my family suffer motivated me to learn more, and I’ve learned much since then. In many ways I’ve been waiting 13 years to write about it.

I was raised in a working class family in the suburbs of middle America.

My parents both worked hard to provide the best upbringing and educationavailable to us. Both are college educated and have worked in a variety of jobs, with my mother eventually settling into a role working for the county, and my father working in mortgage lending until the subprime mortgage crisis when he was forced to look for work elsewhere which he found at a large manufacturing company.

As the dust of the crisis settled and the recession loomed on the horizon, my dad was eventually let go during one of the multiple rounds of layoffs by his employer. We were fortunate enough to keep our house, but had little more to spend since most of the jobs available at that point were minimum wage. Between meager wages, intermittent unemployment benefits, and trips to the food banks, we managed to make it through one of the deepest recessions in decades.

In October 2008, two months after I began my freshman year at university (only made possible by generous scholarships), the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, was Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give money to everybody who needs money.

It’s just that simple.

How much, how many?

10,252,500 people

$30,000 cash

$10,000 in their FICA/SECA accounts

That’s a total of $40,000 per person.

The Quick-N-Easy math looks like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why do something like that?

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

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

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Trump To Be “Most Impeached President… EVER!” With Impeachment Article To Be Introduced Monday

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, January 8, 2021

Looks like he’ll get his wish!

The ONLY President to EVER be impeached TWICE – and, on his way out the door!

What a miserable piece of filthy waste he is.

Hell will yawn wide to receive his worthless, wormy corpse.


CHARGE:

“Incitement of Insurrection”

“Incited by President Trump, a mob unlawfully breached the Capitol, injured law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress and the Vice President, interfered with the Joint Session’s solemn Constitutional duty to certify the election results, and engaged in violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.

“In all of this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coordinate branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”


House Democrats to Introduce Article of Impeachment Against Trump

by Catherine Lucey, Natalie Andrews
Wall Street Journal
Friday, January 8, 2021


WASHINGTON—House Democrats plan to introduce an article of impeachment against President Trump on Monday, according to two Democratic aides, as lawmakers intensified calls to remove him from office after he encouraged a mob that later stormed the Capitol in an effort to disrupt the certification of his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden.

More than 150 House Democrats, well over half of the caucus, have signed on to the article of impeachment written by Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Ted Lieu of California and Jamie Raskin of Maryland that focuses on the breach of the Capitol complex and accuses the president of inciting an insurrection. If passed, it would make Mr. Trump the first president in the nation’s history to be impeached twice.

“This conduct is so grave and this president presents such a clear and present danger to our democracy, I don’t think you can simply say let’s just wait it out” until Mr. Trump leaves office, said Mr. Cicilline in an interview. Mr. Biden’s inauguration is Jan. 20.

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said Friday the House will Read the rest of this entry »

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We’ll End Up Thanking Trump For What He Did

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, January 8, 2021

I suppose, in a somewhat oblique manner, we can thank Trump for making America “great again.”

And, I do mean that in all sincerity.

I never voted for, nor supported his candidacy, nor his Presidency, nor practically anything done during his maladministration.

So, how could we The People possibly stoop to such a level as to actually “thank” him for what he did?

Perhaps in much the same way that we could thank Read the rest of this entry »

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Texas Republican Makes An Easy-To-Understand Argument Against Trump’s False Election Claims

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 7, 2021

U.S. Capitol Police in plain clothes stand behind barricaded doors to the House floor and draw pistols upon Trump 2020 mobsters who violently invaded the U.S. Capitol Building, Wednesday, January 6, 2021 during the Constitutionally-ordered tallying of the states’ certified Electoral College votes.

The shocking events that unfolded yesterday in our nation’s capitol – rioting thugs, marauders, and hooligans who violently overthrew and violently invaded our Nation’s Capitol building complex thereby participating in insurrection after being egged on by their losing candidate, the soon-to-be-former President Trump – are unprecedented. Not since the War of 1812 when British soldiers breached and burned our nation’s capitol has the capitol been invaded. The sad part is, that it was brought about EXCLUSIVELY by a Lying, Lawless and Treasonous American President – Trump – whom the GOP has coddled and cultivated.

Again, yesterday’s domestic terroristic events were brought about exclusively by President Trump, who has consistently falsely asserted that he “won” the 2020 General Election, despite numerous Read the rest of this entry »

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Your Slice Of The Pie Is Getting Smaller

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 30, 2020

“The more things change, the more they remain same,” goes the adage. And while there’s some degree of comfort in knowing that your socks and underwear will be in the same drawer as yesterday, the week and month before, there’s still a burning question, or two: Are you still going to wear the same old ratty, tattered old underwear that you have for the last 10, or 20 years or more?

If that doesn’t sound like you, you’re in luck.

BUT!

If it does sound like you… well, you’re like the Congress.

Our United States Constitution sets forth a representative form of government in which The People choose Representatives for themselves to represent their interests in a common gathering place called “the Capitol building” in Washington, D.C. And according to that constitution, and other relevant laws, The The People are to have our interests represented according to a formula, of sorts, which determines how many Representatives we should have. That process is called “apportionment,” and refers to the number of Members of the House of Representatives are to be apportioned among The People.

When our Constitution was first written, the Founders… well, read it for yourself.

Article 1, Section 2 of the United States Constitution:

“The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature. No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen. Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three. …”

There you have it.

“The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative…”

When our Constitution was first written, there was a ratio, of sorts, established to guide the number of Representatives in the House. And, it was 30,000. Since then, it’s been changed, and in fact, it was supposed to be changed every 10 years, which is the entire and exclusive purpose of the Constitution – to determine how many Representatives we should have.

But, along about 1911, the year immediately after the 1910 Census, something happened.

Congress gave America an abortion.

I use that word “abortion” purposely, because that describes to a “T” the essence of what happened.

Allow me to explain further.

In 1911, for some still as-yet-unknown reason, when Congress took up the matter of Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

Posted in - Did they REALLY say that?, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Posted in - Did they REALLY say that?, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Posted in - Business... None of yours, - Did they REALLY say that?, - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man?, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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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