Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘Democrats’

Make America Great Again: A How-To Guide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As I continue to maintain,

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

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

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

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

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

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Healthcare, Marijuana, Medicare For All, Voting Rights, And More

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

This prospective legislation (linked below) is “…an indication of the overall appetite for progressive policies in the 2020 Democratic primary race.”

And, it’s about damn time!

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders -I

I’m sick & tired of hearing folks say that there’s not a nickel’s worth of difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. And face it… if it weren’t for Bernie leading the way last General Election cycle, we very likely wouldn’t be hearing this kind of talk. Seriously.

 

And, while Sen. Kamala Harris exceeded Bernie’s 2016 fundraising “haul” by raising $1.5M in the first 24 hours following announcement of candidacy, Bernie outdid himself this time by raising $6M in 24 hours. THAT is SIGNIFICANT! And, it says that the number of those who believed in him last time, have increased. Plus, he already has the campaign people and mechanisms in place, whereas others – including Harris – do not.

California Senator Kamala Harris -D

I think it’ll be interesting to see how all this shakes out.

Of course, Joe Biden’s likely to be tossed into the mix, but while polls show he has “favorable” ratings with many, including Republicans, 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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The Government Shutdown is Democrats’ Fault

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

… and other lies.

Just like it’s the Democrats’ fault that Trump screwed around on his wives.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in part that, “Shutting down the government is something that’s widely disliked by virtually every American and I don’t think we’re going to do it.”

But on Saturday, November 17, 2018 Trump said in part that, “If I was ever going to do a shutdown over border security — when you look at the caravan, when you look at the mess, when you look at the people coming in. This would be a very good time to do a shutdown.”

Then, on December 11, 2018 in the White House Oval Office, in front of teevee cameras, and worldwide press, speaking to Democratic leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY) in the Oval Office, Trump said: Read the rest of this entry »

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History Repeats Itself: How Alabama’s Anti-Crossover Voting Law Violates the Constitution

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 10, 2018

Alabama Political Reporter news writer Brandon Mosely wrote in a story headlined “Alabama secretary of state releases updates on crossover voting,” and published December 7, 2018, that “the Secretary of State’s office announced Thursday that it has discovered 398 violations of Alabama’s new crossover voting rules in the 2018 election cycle.

“At the conclusion of the 2017 United States Senate Special Election Run-off, the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office reviewed a formal, routine election report indicating that 140 individuals had been given credit for voting in the Democrat primary election on August 15th and then voting in the Republican run-off election on September 26. This action, termed crossover voting, is an action which would violate the State’s new crossover voting law (Act No. 2017-340).

“… under Alabama law it is illegal to vote in both a party primary and then vote in another party’s primary runoff. In the general election, voters are allowed to vote for candidates from both parties and/or independent or minor party candidates. 66 percent of Alabamians straight party voted in the 2018 election. Alabama does not have party registration, so any voter is allowed to participate in the party primary of their choice.”

He cited Act No. 2017-340, which as summarized on the state legislature’s website as, “Act 2017-340, SB108, amends Section 17-4-2.1, Code of Alabama 1975, relating to voting, to allow the Secretary of State to use electronic poll books instead of printed lists of qualified voters.  The act also prohibits any voter from voting in a primary runoff election unless the voter voted in the preceding primary election of the party for which the runoff election is being held.”

A PDF image of the actual document, which was signed by the Governor Kay Ivey, May 22, 2017, 1:30PM, may be found here>http://arc-sos.state.al.us/PAC/SOSACPDF.001/A0012111.PDF.

The act, which originated as SB108 (Senate Bill) and was sponsored by Senators Tom Whatley, Cam Ward, Clyde Chambliss, Tripp Pittman, Bill Holtzclaw and Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh – all Republicans – states in part that the law will “prohibit a voter from voting in a primary runoff election unless the voter voted in the preceding primary election of the party for which the runoff election is being held.”

The purpose of the bill (now law as Code of Alabama 1975,17-4-2.1(9)) was ostensibly to Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump: Who Voted For, And Supports Him?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 21, 2018

Formerly titled, “With Trump WYSIWYG: Who Voted For, And Supports Him?”

African leopard, Panthera pardus pardus, near Lake Panic, Kruger National Park, South Africa, 31 December 2013
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0), Derek Keats, https://www.flickr.com/photos/93242958@N00/19448654130M

One either loves, or loathes, Donald Trump.

One does not simply “tolerate” him.

He is a divisive political figure.

He is starkly contrasted to former POTUS George W. Bush, who in a May 6, 1999 interview with David Horowitz of Salon magazine, famously said, “I’m a uniter, not a divider.”

Trump is a divider, not a uniter.

For Trump, e pluribus unum means nothing, even though we are the United States of America.

And for those who voted for him thinking he’d change, that he was merely spouting hollow campaign rhetoric, they might as well have asked a leopard to change it’s spots.

With Trump, WYSIWYG.

Specifically, I mean to refer to him in his executive Presidential capacity.

And yet, strangely enough, he has coalesced support from diverse, divergent sub-groups within, and without the GOP. The importance of that feat cannot, and should not be underestimated, glossed over, or minimized, because understanding it is key to political success, especially for Read the rest of this entry »

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Arch Conservative Woman @MonaCharenEPPC Booed @CPAC

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 26, 2018

Rape is is legally defined by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) as, “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” That definition is used by the FBI to collect information from state and local law enforcement agencies about reported rapes and applies to males and females. Rape is a crime of VIOLENCE perpetrated upon the genitals. It is NOT one of sexual gratification by the perpetrator.

Recently, Mona Charen, a well-respected Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and writer for National Review (a well-known publication founded by late arch-conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. 1925-2008), was booed by the audience which she addressed at the Conservative Political Action Conference. CPAC, as it’s known, is an annual conference of political conservatives which is hosted by the American Conservative Union (ACU), which itself is a political organization promoting conservative causes.

About her experience there, she opined in the New York Times, Sunday February 25, 2o18 that, “But on Saturday, after speaking to this year’s gathering, I had to be escorted from the premises by several guards who seemed genuinely concerned for my safety.

“What happened to me at CPAC is the perfect illustration of the collective experience of a whole swath of conservatives since Donald Trump became the Republican nominee. We built and organized this party — but now we’re made to feel like interlopers.”

It has been many years since I first remarked that the GOP is a band of radicals. And it is even more evident now, than before. Those who are the “Johnny-come-latelys” of the GOP are the result of 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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Note To @TheDemocrats & Other #NeverTrump-ers: To win in 2018, STOP THE AD HOMINEM!

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

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

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

To illustrate the matter, consider the following online dialogue:

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

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

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Original Russian Tea Recipe

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Holiday season is again upon us, and many folks – particularly Southerners – are familiar with a tasty warm beverage known as “Russian Tea.”

Exactly how and where the recipe developed, and how it came by that name is somewhat unclear, but “the font of all knowledge” – and I sarcastically refer to Wikipedia – cites an article entitled “Russian Tea is Favorite Recipe in the South” by Cecily Brownstone in the November 27, 1976 issue of Kentucky New Era newspaper in Hopkinsville.

Interestingly, the story which is perhaps the newspaper’s most renown is the August 1955 Kelly-Hopkinsville Alien Encounter, which may also be known as “Kelly Green Men Case,” or the “Hopkinsville Goblins Case.” It’s a precursor of sorts to a “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” type story in which five adults and seven children reported to Hopkinsville Police that “little men with big heads and long arms,” presumably alien creatures, were attacking their farm house, and that they’d held them off with gunfire “for nearly four hours.” It all started around 7PM when one of the men went out of the house to get a bucket of water, and lasted until 0330 – that’s 3:30AM.

Who knows? Maybe they’d had too much Russian Tea. Anyway, I don’t think you’ll be doing any hallucinating, or discharging any firearms after drinking this, so it’s pretty tame stuff… unless you start adding Kentucky Bourbon or other liquor to it.

Anyway…

Spiced Tea infusion recipe in Joy of Cooking, p40

Spiced Tea infusion recipe in Joy of Cooking, p40

However, as seen in the image herein, the Read the rest of this entry »

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Can @realDonaldTrump this?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Day 5: The standard has been set… by a Black man.

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – the huge government bureaucracy established by Executive Order 13228 under President George W. Bush on October 8, 2001 – and it’s subsidiary bureaucracy the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), from 2009-2015, President Barack Obama has deported over 2.5 Million illegal immigrants… more than the George W. Bush administration.

Statistics for this year (2016) are not ready, because… the year hasn’t ended. Duh!
So, there are more to be added to the “we kicked you out because you broke the law” rolls.

Really? Obama deported more illegals than Bush?

Yup.

He’s deported so many illegals that he’s been nicknamed the “Deporter in Chief.”

In fact, he’s deported MORE than any other administration in history.

MORE than Reagan.

MORE than George H.W. Bush.

MORE than Clinton.

MORE than Carter.

In fact… MORE than ALL OF THEM COMBINED!

Oh yeah.

Ouch… that’s gotta’ smart!

The Office of Immigration Statistics (a subsidiary of the Department of Homeland Security), says Read the rest of this entry »

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The Great Unknown… Or Not: Separating #Fact From #Fiction: @realDonaldTrump’s First 100 Days – Realistic, Or Idealistic?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 12, 2016

November 11, 2016
Day 3: Still thinking

Yesterday, President Obama met with Donald Trump at the White House. It was the first time either of them had met. According to brief remarks made to the Press afterward, their collegial meeting lasted about one and a half hours.

The erudite will recall that “the first 100 days” is taken from a radio address given by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first term in office, in which during his first 100 days , and modeled after his plan to get Americans back to work, protect their savings and create prosperity, provide relief for the sick and elderly, and get industry and agriculture back on their feet.

Having read Trump’s goals for his first 100 days in office, it seems to me that there are some ideas I can support. Yet, there’s some pure bluster and ignorance designed for purely emotional appeal. I’ll separate fact from fiction, and we’ll have to wait and see how it all pans out.
See: donald-trumps-contract-w-american-voter

Trump’s objectives are in bold, my comments follow.

—/—

First: Constitutional Amendment for Congressional Term Limits – I have long supported that idea. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R), however, opposes them – as, presumably, do some others. Whenever their income source or security is potentially challenged, they’ll fight. Which is probably all the more reason it ought to enacted. A Lifetime Limit of Eight terms in the House of Representatives (2 years x 8 terms=16 years), and a Lifetime Limit of Two terms in the Senate (2 terms x 6 years=12 years) for a combined total of 20 years Lifetime Total ought to be enough for anyone.

Second: Federal Hiring Freeze, to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health) – I can understand that, and could go along with that for a period of time. Realize also that whenever any public action is required to be taken – such as “extreme vetting,” it is done by Federal Employees. So if their numbers are reduced, as a natural result, expect slow-downs and delays in any actions undertaken.

Third: Require that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated – That’s unrealistic, and impracticable. It may be nice to think about, but as a blanket statement, it’s simply unrealistic.

Fourth: A 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service – TOTALLY in favor of this idea.

Sixth: Lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government – Totally in favor of, and the ban should extend to ALL former Federal Employees.

On the same day, I will begin taking the following 7 actions to protect American workers:

FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205 – I have long advocated for changes to NAFTA, and other Free Trade deals to which the United States is a party.

SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership – TOTALLY in favor of this idea.

THIRD, I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator – Some say “yes,” some say “no,” but there is no disagreement China has bought American currency on the FOREX (Foreign Currency Exchange Market), and has purchased American indebtedness (T-bills, and other bonds). Mr. C. Fred Bergsten, Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, put it this way: “Currency manipulation occurs when Read the rest of this entry »

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Hillary & Trump: Two Deeply Flawed Candidates

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 18, 2016

By many accounts, the 2016 Presidential Election year is a complete campaign in the ass. Two deeply flawed candidates manipulated and exposed deeply flawed processes in both major political parties, not the least of which is for the GOP, how to vet their candidates more thoroughly, and have the ability to remove them from official party candidacy, and for the Democrats, how to maintain candidate neutrality, and prevent party officials from influencing candidates of the top officials’ choosing toward nomination. I predict many much-needed changes on the horizon for both parties… following the November General Election.

—/—

by Gary Cosby, Jr.
Used with permission

WARNING:  This is a long post. It is also my final political post before the election.

I am not an editorial writer but today I am going to play one on Facebook. First, let me say, everyone is welcome to comment; however, if your comment uses foul language or is abusive to anyone else, your comment will be deleted. One of the great problems we have today is our lack of ability to disagree and still have civil discourse; therefore, we will practice it or be censured. Keep in mind, this is my opinion and you do not have to agree with it. Thank your First Amendment rights for that.

By now, we all know this presidential election cycle has presented us with the two poorest candidates in memory, perhaps in all of American history. Certainly there have been poor candidates running for one party or the other throughout our history but not facing one another in the same election.

They have turned the presidential debates into bad Saturday Night Live skits. In fact, I doubt the writers of SNL would have been able to dream up anything this hideous. The American political scene will never be the same and Read the rest of this entry »

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Why @HillaryClinton’s @StateDept Quid Pro Quo Pay-To-Play Is A Corrupt Practice

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 28, 2016

Accountability is what remains once responsibility has fled. The citizens of the United States must demand higher standards from their public servants, and officials, and severely punish violations of the same.

—/—

Bill and Hillary Clinton, Meet Jozette Berry, Alisha Cole and Lashonda Smaw

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on August 28, 2016
Used with permission.

Former Jefferson County, Alabama revenue clerks Lashonda Smaw, Alisha Cole, and Gazette Berry (pictured from left to right). They engaged in the same unethical conduct that is involved in the Hillary Clinton "cash for prioritized access" scandal. Each woman was investigated, criminally charged with felony ethics violations, and convicted in court. Their total take in gratuities was $120. The total gratuities involved in the Clinton scandal is $156 million, and nobody is under a criminal investigation.

Former Jefferson County, Alabama revenue clerks Lashonda Smaw, Alisha Cole, and Gazette Berry (pictured from left to right). They engaged in the same unethical conduct that is involved in the Hillary Clinton “cash for prioritized access” scandal. Each woman was investigated, criminally charged with felony ethics violations, and convicted in court. Their total take in gratuities was $120. The total gratuities involved in the Clinton scandal is $156 million, and nobody is under a criminal investigation.

In 2013, Jozette Berry, Alisha Cole and Lashonda Smaw were Jefferson County, Alabama revenue clerks who worked in the downtown County Courthouse and the Center Point Satellite Courthouse. These low-level public servants accepted cash gratuities for cutting people to the front of the 4-hour long, slow moving, car tag line. Cole was caught accepting $20 on two occasions in August 2013. Berry and Smaw were caught accepting $40 on a single occasion in April 2013.

After a local Fox TV news team publicly exposed this criminal conduct, there was immediate and widespread condemnation of the women’s actions. It made national news. This was declared an ethics violation on the part of each woman.

In December 2013, a Jefferson County grand jury indicted Berry, Cole, and Smaw for using their public office for personal gain, which is a felony in Alabama and an ethics violation as well. Each woman faced 2 to 20 years in prison, if convicted.

These women did not have friends in high places. They were not connected to the Obama White House, or the U.S. Attorney General, or the Director of the FBI. They did not hold any political office. They did not have New York spin-doctors or high-powered lawyers to argue that they had done nothing wrong. In short, they had no one who could “fix” their criminal case, or make it go away.

Jozette Berry and Lashonda Smaw, who are black, eventually pled guilty. Alisha Cole, who faced two felony counts of ethics violations, went to trial and was convicted. Berry received a sentence of 12 months of hard labor in the county jail. Imposition of Berry’s sentence was later suspended and she was placed on 2 years of unsupervised probation. After her conviction, Cole received a three-year suspended sentence and two years of unsupervised probation. Smaw’s sentence for her ethics violation is unknown at this time.

The guilty pleas for Berry and Smaw and guilty verdict for Cole ended a multi-year joint criminal investigation by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Public Corruption and White Collar Crimes Unit, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and the Birmingham Police Department. After the criminal cases ended in May 2015, the local DA proudly released the following statement: “We are grateful to have partners in law enforcement who are Read the rest of this entry »

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Racism & Bigotry Abounds in the #ALpolitics State Democratic Executive Committee

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 12, 2015

racist: rāsəst:
A person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.

bigot: A person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.

As a noun, racism is “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.”

Yesterday – Saturday July 11, 2015 – the State Democratic Executive Committee of the Alabama Democratic Party met in Montgomery. The ostensible purpose of that meeting was to elect members to fill vacancies in the party.

Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley

Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley

Things didn’t go well.

But then again, things haven’t gone well for the Alabama Democratic Party for quite some time.

The reason why is quite simple, and can be summed up in one word: Mismanagement.

Chairwoman Nancy Worley, former Secretary of State, and former teacher from New Hope, in Madison county (in the northernmost part of the state, bordering Tennessee), has Read the rest of this entry »

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How Much Could Alabama Save By Not Paying Legislators?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, April 30, 2015

UPDATE: Sunday, 14 June 2015 – Found following main body

Today (Thursday, 30 April 2015) the Alabama State Senate knocked off at 11:30, and reconvened 1PM. It’s also the final day of the Legislative Session for the week – they only work three days each week – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

An hour and a half – that’s a nice, long lunch break for a wealthy man, a powerful man – not a working man. It’s pretty cushy for someone who works three days a week, only 30 days a year. Reckon how your boss would respond if you asked for a three-day work week and a 30-day work year?

How long do you get for lunch?

Most folks get 30 minutes.

The Alabama Senate gets THREE times longer than most working folks.

But then, excesses in Alabama state politics is nothing new.

Recall that – by law – the Alabama Legislature is limited to work <30 days/year (in a 105 day period) & for that privilege, citizens & taxpayers fork over $50K+/yr in pay & compensation to them – 35 in the Senate, and 105 in the House.
TOTAL=140 men (mostly) & women.

In stark contrast, New Mexico’s State Legislators are a Volunteer Legislature (they’re elected, yes, but unpaid), and during Session, by State Law receive a Daily Federal Per Diem, and Two-Way Mileage once during a session EXCLUSIVELY.

Legislative pay in Alabama has been a hot-button issue, particularly in recent years – and, it’s unnecessarily complicated. By State Constitutional Law, their “official” pay is Read the rest of this entry »

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Presidential Political Prophesy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 12, 2015

As we wind down the final two years of President Barack Obama’s second term, speculation is arising concerning who will become the GOP’s Presidential nominee. At this point, there is much less speculation among Democrats about who will contend for the race, although Hillary Clinton does seem to be positioning herself early for a run at the Democratic party’s nomination.

Given the increasing inoperability of the radicalized GOP (even though they have wrested solid control of the House and Senate, but not enough to override a presidential veto), and their tendency toward government shutdown, brinksmanship, and extremism, some have said they would prefer to see a Democratic presidential successor, though there may be little evidence to support the notion such a thing will occur.

Some have said “That doesn’t help the Democrats” and that, “a Republican president doesn’t help anyone but corporations.” While there may be merit to both statements, it should be observed that a spirit of cooperation has become eroded to the point that there seems little chance that statesmanship and compromise for the good of the whole will occur… even given the Republican majority in the House and Senate. The radicalized GOP’s infighting even has Speaker Boehner up in arms, and not merely for his impotence and inability to control the party now hijacked by Right-Wing Extremists.

Which is where we begin the prophesy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Prison System Teetering on Federal Takover

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 7, 2014

Every single word in this OpEd is spot-on.

Alabama is on the verge of a complete takeover of it’s prison system. That is a VERY sad indictment, and fact. Further, most Alabamians are COMPLETELY unaware of the dangers the state faces.

Alabama is a state in crisis.

Fiscal crisis from a failure of long-term management, unwise, unsound policy, unnecessary prolonged and costly legal battles at the state and federal levels over inane laws which have had no positive effect upon the state, from policies and procedures which have only burdened the people, tax giveaways to corporations, funded corporate welfare, an inequitable personal income taxation system which has hampered and hamstrung state growth, and further placed the state’s citizens into poverty.

Face it folks… I don’t give a damn about what political colors you wear, or how or what you describe yourself as politically in Alabama… if everything were peaches and cream in the state, then why in the Hell is the state’s poverty level 18% – 4 percentage points ABOVE the national average?

Why is the state sick in their persons? Of all states, Alabama continually ranks high in rates of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc., even among CHILDREN!

Why does the state have a high crime rate?

Why are Alabamians largely “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”?

WHY?

WHY?!?

WHY!?!

***
***

Why Alabama Cannot Wait on Prison Reform: Guest Opinion

Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (center), speaks  speaks to media members during a tour as Kim Thomas, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections (left) and warden Carter Davenport listen at the St. Clair Correctional Facility Fri., March 16, 2012 in Springville, Ala. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale)

Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (center), speaks speaks to media members during a tour as Kim Thomas, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections (left) and Warden Carter Davenport listen at the St. Clair Correctional Facility Fri., March 16, 2012 in Springville, Ala. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale)

Guest opinion By Alabama State Senator Cam Ward
August 06, 2014 at 9:00 AM, updated August 06, 2014 at 9:05 AM

By Cam Ward

Prisons are an issue that would never rank high on any list of priorities for the people of Alabama and understandably so.  With unemployment hovering near 7 percent and many schools in need of repair, people ask me why prison reform should be a major subject at this time. The answer is simple – because our failure to maintain a good corrections system is going to push over a fiscal cliff that we may never recover from.

For years as our corrections system became more crowded the political leadership in Montgomery turned their eyes to issues more palatable to the voters during election time. The general feeling for decades has been “let’s wait and deal with that when we have more money.”

As we waited our system grew to 192 percent capacity and despite this incarceration rate our state has the 8th highest violent crime rate in the country. Both of these statistics point to a failing system of corrections.

In addition to allowing for a broken system to continue down a path of inefficiency we have also created a fiscal nightmare of the likes our state has never seen before. While we spend Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Secretary of State Errs in Poll Watcher Guide: Photo Voter ID Law Disenfranchises Elderly Voters in June Primaries

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 3, 2014

{Tuesday, 10 June 2014: Update/Annotation/Correction noted in response #2. Ed.}

Today (June 3, 2014) in Alabama was primary election day. It is a day the party faithful – Democrats and Republicans – went to the polls to cast ballots for the candidates of their choice.

In Alabama, citizens cannot vote for candidates of their choice in both parties. They must choose either/or. Only in the November General Election can they “split the ticket” and vote for Democrats and Republicans.

In my way of thinking, that is a shame… and a crime, because it disenfranchises those whom would vote by requiring them to identify – against their will – as a member of a political party.

As I write, the polls have closed (they’re open from 0700 – 1900… or if you prefer, 7AM – 7PM), and already, there have been reports throughout the state that irregularities have occurred. Some voters – specifically, the elderly – have been denied the right to vote.

Voter fraud? 92-year-old great-grandmother’s expired driver’s license unacceptable for voter ID

http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/06/voter_fraud.htm

AL Ballot Security Manual

Photograph of the “Alabama Ballot Security Manual: A Practical guide for Poll Watchers, Alabama Primary Election, June 3, 2014

93-year-old black man disenfranchised by Alabama voter ID law

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/voter-id-law-disenfranchises-93-year-old-black-man

As well, there are inconsistencies in official information produced by the Secretary of State specifically for the purpose of Poll Watching & Voter Identification.

In a document entitled “Alabama Photo Voter ID Guide” available on the Alabama Secretary of State’s website Read the rest of this entry »

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Congressional Budget Office: Offshore Corporate Tax Havens Cost each Citizen $1259

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, April 17, 2014

Historically, our nation has prospered when tax rates on the ULTRA wealthy and corporations were highest.

In the period following World War II, under President Dwight David Eisenhower – a Republican, and former Supreme Allied Commander / 5ive Star General – Corporate Tax rates have continually declined.

Now, during the Obama administration, they are at the LOWEST they have EVER been.

Corporate Income Tax Rates have continually declined

Corporate Income Tax Rates have continually declined the peaked during the Eisenhower administration. The formula is: b/(a+b) Where (a) Corporate Profits After Tax (without IVA and CCAdj), Billions of Dollars, Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (CP); And (b) Federal Government: Tax Receipts on Corporate Income, Billions of Dollars, Not Seasonally Adjusted (FCTAX)

Tax Havens Leave U.S. Filers $1,259 Tab Each, Report Says

U.S. taxpayers would need to pay an average of $1,259 more a year to make up the federal and state taxes lost to corporations and individuals sheltering money in overseas tax havens, according to a report.

Tax haven abusers benefit from America’s markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law -– all supported in one way or another by tax dollars -– but they avoid paying for these benefits,” U.S. Public Interest Research Group said in the report released today, the deadline for filing 2013 taxes.
ref: http://www.uspirg.org/reports/usp/picking-tab-2014

“Instead, ordinary taxpayers end up picking up the tab, either in the form of higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increases to the federal debt,” it said.

In total, the U.S. loses $150 billion in federal revenue and another $34 billion in state revenue annually because of money parked in tax havens, the Boston-based consumer advocacy group concluded.

That’s almost Read the rest of this entry »

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Analysis – Examining the Record: Is Alabama Governor Bentley a “Jobs Creator” or a Drag on the State Economy?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 12, 2014

When campaigning for the office of Alabama’s Governor, Robert Bentley – a retired dermatologist physician who at the time was an elected representative from Tuscaloosa County – promised if elected governor that, “I will forgo a salary as state representative for the rest of my term and will not accept a salary as Governor until Alabama reaches full employment.”
ref: http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2010/06/robert_bentley_extends_no-sala.html

When pressed on the matter, he later defined “full employment” as having state unemployment somewhere around 5%. It is a promise to which, as of the date of this entry – 12 April 2014 – he has kept. In other words, Alabama has NOT reached “full employment,” and he has not been paid a salary. He has, however, been compensated for out-of-pocket expenses (the governor’s office has a budget, so why would he personally have any such expenses for work in an official capacity?), though he has received – as legislator, a legally-mandated $1.00 per month salary. Since his election to the governorship, he has not received a salary.

Let’s examine Governor Bentley‘s employment record.

During Governor Robert Bentley’s watch, International Paper – the large paper mill formerly known as Champion Paper, in Courtland, and the largest employer in Lawrence County – closed and cost the area economy & state 1100 jobs. Those jobs were Read the rest of this entry »

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In Defense of #Infrastructure Spending

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

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

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

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

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

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Senator Jeff Sessions REFUSES to give up part of his salary for sequestration

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

Be sure to ask Sen. Sessions if he is going to voluntarily give up a portion of his Senatorial salary since the Senate last month passed a measure urging their members to forgo 20% of their salaries as part of sequestration.

Kudos, however, to Sen. Bob Corker R-TN, who has NEVER pocketed any of his Senate salary.

Why?

He donates it ALL to charity.

Why?

He’s worth over $19 Million.

Few senators sacrifice pay amid cuts

By Russell Berman – 04/03/13 05:00 AM ET

Only a few senators are planning to forfeit a portion of their salaries to charity or the U.S. Treasury while sequestration is in effect, according to a survey conducted by The Hill.

The Senate last month passed a measure urging members of the upper chamber to forgo 20 percent of their salary during sequestration. Most senators, however, are keeping quiet on whether they will follow through.

During a marathon session of budget votes, the Senate approved by voice vote an amendment from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) calling on lawmakers to donate 20 percent of their pay to charity or return it to the U.S. Treasury.In his floor speech, Graham noted that about 500,000 to 600,000 federal employees will be furloughed because of sequestration and that senators should “feel what other people are feeling.”

Yet in a survey of Senate offices by The Hill, only Graham and Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) have indicated they would give up some of their take-home pay.

In a recent press release, Begich — who is up for reelection in 2014 — said Read the rest of this entry »

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Would President Obama privatize TVA & Kill the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shoals: Privatizing TVA is ‘a bad idea’

By Mike Goens
Managing Editor
Matt McKean/TimesDaily
4/21/13

Anglers fish below thousands of feet of power lines that run from TVA’s Wheeler Dam turbine systems. Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. Matt McKean/TimesDaily

Anglers fish below thousands of feet of power lines that run from TVA’s Wheeler Dam turbine systems. Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. Matt McKean/TimesDaily

If President Barack Obama needs help orchestrating an effort to privatize TVA, he shouldn’t expect much support from the Shoals.

Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. They fear a privately owned TVA will lead to higher electricity rates, job cuts, more flooding problems and navigational issues on the Tennessee River and other waterways under TVA’s jurisdiction.

“The first questions you need to ask are what’s the gain for government and what would be gained by the community,” said Steve Hargrove, manager of Sheffield Utilities. “If the purpose is to make things better and there is reason to think it’s possible, I would be the first one interested in sitting at the table and talking about it. I just don’t see advantages of privatizing at this time.”

Obama brought the issue to the table through his 2014 budget proposal, which was released last week. He said selling TVA should be explored as a means to increase revenue by as much as $25 billion, money that could reduce the federal deficit and pay for other government services.

Hargrove has a unique perspective to the debate, having worked at TVA for 33 years before retiring as plant manager at Colbert Fossil Plant. He became manager of Sheffield Utilities in December.

His department purchases electricity from TVA and provides power to about 19,000 customers in Colbert County.

“I am a believer in the private sector, but I would fear their mission would be different than TVA’s,” Hargrove said. “The mission of TVA is not to make profit, and the mission of the private sector is to make a profit. They have to answer to a board that wants to maximize profits. When your primary goal is to make a profit, that becomes a higher goal than helping the community.

“TVA has had its problems, and bad decisions have been made, but its mission is good and they are an established part of the communities.”

Hargrove said residential rates for TVA customers in the Southeast are among the lowest 25 percent in the country and Read the rest of this entry »

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How out of touch with reality is the GOP?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, March 23, 2013

The GOP recently acknowledged that, among other aspects of their party’s alienation from the American mainstream, they need to modify and change not merely their image, but their appeal to Hispanics, which have largely voted for Democratic candidates.

The irony of their acknowledgment is that they want to do the very thing they’ve demonstrated why and how they’ve alienated themselves from the American mainstream… hire a Mexican to do their work.

As reported in VOXXI, by Grace Flores-Hughes on March 19, 2013, “The Republican National Committee plans to hire political directors from the Hispanic, Asian, African American communities as well as from women’s groups.”
Read her story: “The ambitious coming out of the Republican Party”

The numbers prove it: The GOP is estranged from America

By Andrew Kohut, Published: March 22

Andrew Kohut is the founding director and former president of the Pew Research Center. He served as president of the Gallup Organization from 1979 to 1989.

In my decades of polling, I recall only one moment when a party had been driven as far from the center as the Republican Party has been today.

The outsize influence of hard-line elements in the party base is doing to the GOP what supporters of Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama’s Republican Legislators take over State’s Schools… even though they’re not failing.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, March 10, 2013

The lack of news outlets in the states three major newspapers all which publish only three editions weekly (Birmingham News, Mobile Press-Register, and the Huntsville Times, now known as “Alabama Media Group” which newspapers are all owned by the same privately held mega-firm that owns Sports Illustrated & Conde Nast – Advance Publications, aka Newhouse News) has – in my estimation – contributed to the demise of public involvement in governance, and to a great degree, influenced voters from participating in their own governance by keeping them ignorant.

However, that does NOT mean that there is no news, nor does it mean that there is a news blackout. What it means is that in those three major cities in the state, there is a dearth of reporting of state events.

For example, the Montgomery Advertiser reported recently that in an email message to his staff, Governor Robert Bentley “demanded that his cabinet members and the state employees who work for them not discuss with state legislators any concerns they might have with a proposed overhaul to state law enforcement agencies.

““I do not want any cabinet head or any member of their department to lobby against this. Tell your employees to contact ONLY Blaine Galliher if they have any questions or concerns. NO ONE is to talk to members of the House or Senate in opposition to this legislation,” Bentley wrote in an email sent to cabinet members by his executive assistant on Feb. 12.””

Governor Bentley is showing his true face… that of a tyrant.

The year Alabama legislators took over schools

by Wayne Flynt
Special to The Star
Mar 10, 2013
Gov. Robert Bentley talks with reporters in Montgomery last week. Photo: Dave Martin/Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley talks with reporters in Montgomery last week. Photo: Dave Martin/Associated Press

My father grew up poor and never finished high school but was incredibly resourceful. He could “figure things out.” He did his own plumbing, wiring and construction. But on occasion, Dad’s chief asset became a liability. So confident was he in his ability to fix anything that he refused to admit that he didn’t know everything.

That is a good description of the new Republican Legislature. They were elected for good reasons: The hubris, arrogance, excesses, patronage abuse, corruption and demagoguery of Democrats. But the 2013 Legislature reminds me lots of the Democrats they replaced.

Republicans, who hold all state offices and a veto-proof majority in the Legislature, have decided that they know better than anyone how to do everything.

Take education, for instance. Three successive reform-minded state school superintendents — supported by a business community concerned about the loss of one-third of Alabama manufacturing jobs since 2000 and fearful that schools were not producing a labor force skilled enough to compete in the global economy — began reforming education.

They introduced model early childhood programs, world-class math and science curricula, a reading initiative widely copied nationwide, tougher graduation standards, and took over failing schools and malfunctioning systems characterized by patronage politics and financial profligacy (think Birmingham).

Education reformers organized A+ Education Partnership and joined this battle. Their hugely successful “best practices” center and life-changing college-readiness program that enrolls record numbers of students in demanding advanced placement courses constitute instances where Alabama set national standards rather than followed them.

So what does the new Republican Legislature do? Read the rest of this entry »

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What will President Obama do in his next four years?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 26, 2012

Obama and the Road Ahead: The Rolling Stone Interview

In an Oval Office conversation with a leading historian, the president discusses what he would do with a second term – and his opponent’s embrace of ‘the most extreme positions in the Republican Party

by: Douglas Brinkley

Obama on Rolling Stone 20121023-obama-1169-306x-1351006174

Photo by Mark Seliger

Barack Obama can no longer preach the bright 2008 certitudes of “Hope and Change.” He has a record to defend this time around. And, considering the lousy hand he was dealt by George W. Bush and an obstructionist Congress, his record of achievement, from universal health care to equal pay for women, is astonishingly solid. His excessive caution is a survival trait; at a time when the ripple and fury provoked by one off-key quip can derail a campaign for days, self-editing is the price a virtuoso must pay to go the distance in the age of YouTube.

Viewed through the lens of history, Obama represents a new type of 21st-century politician: the Progressive Firewall. Obama, simply put, is the curator-in-chief of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier and the Great Society. When he talks about continued subsidies for Big Bird or contraceptives for Sandra Fluke, he is the inheritor of the Progressive movement’s agenda, the last line of defense that prevents America’s hard-won social contract from being defunded into oblivion.

Ever since Theodore Roosevelt used executive orders to save the Grand Canyon from the zinc-copper lobbies and declared that unsanitary factories were grotesque perversions propagated by Big Money interests, the federal government has aimed to improve the daily lives of average Americans. Woodrow Wilson followed up T.R.’s acts by creating the Federal Reserve and the Federal Trade Commission and re-establishing a federal income tax. Then, before the stock market crash in 1929, the GOP Big Three of Harding-Coolidge-Hoover made “business” the business of America, once more allowing profiteers to flourish at the expense of the vulnerable.

Enter Franklin Roosevelt, a polio victim confined to a wheelchair and leg braces. His alphabet soup of New Deal programs – the CCC and TVA and WPA – brought hope to the financially distraught, making them believe that the government was on their side. Determined to end the Great Depression, Roosevelt was a magnificent experimenter. Credit him with Social Security, legislation to protect workers, labor’s right to collective bargaining, Wall Street regulation, rural electrification projects, farm-price supports, unemployment compensation and federally guaranteed bank deposits. The America we know and love today sprung directly from the New Deal.

For the next three decades, the vast majority of voters benefited from Roosevelt’s revolution. And every president from FDR to Jimmy Carter, regardless of political affiliation, grabbed America by the scruff of the neck and did huge, imaginative things with tax revenues. Think Truman (the Marshall Plan), Eisenhower (the Interstate Highway System), Kennedy (the space program), Johnson (Medicaid and Medicare), Nixon (the EPA) and Carter (the departments of Energy and Education). Whether it was Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy going after the Mob or LBJ laying the groundwork for PBS, citizens took comfort in the knowledge that the executive branch was a caring iron fist with watchdog instincts that got things done.

It was the election of Ronald Reagan that started the Grand Reversal. Reagan had voted four times for FDR, but by 1980 he saw the federal government – with the notable exception of our armed forces – as a bloated, black-hatted villain straight out of one of his B movies. His revolution – and make no mistake that it was one – aimed to undo everything from Medicare to Roe v. Wade. Ever since Reagan, both the New Deal and Read the rest of this entry »

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Presidential Geography: Alabama & Mississippi – Two very solidly Red(neck) states

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 12, 2012

To be certain, this ain’t your daddy’s Republican party.

It’s a party hijacked by radicals – genuine radicals – whose solitary bent is the destruction of government. Tear down this, destroy & eliminate this, that and the other, shift responsibility to the states for various programs, knowing full well that they do not, and will not have the ability to fully or appropriately fund them because tax rates continue to decline… it’s a “Starve the Monster” approach which has been taken – quite literally.

We have experienced already the devastating effects of it – significant tax cuts and a 10-year long war which has driven up the deficit, a BIG BUSINESS Bailout resulting from financial deregulation, which has cost jobs, houses, increased homelessness & bankruptcies, and off-shoring of American manufacturing.

And all this is predicated – so they purport – to be symptomatic of “a welfare state” that rewards so-called “welfare queens” who have children precisely to obtain more welfare money (a genuine misnomer if ever there was one)

But the biggest question is: What’s for dessert?

I don’t think we want to know.

FiveThirtyEight – Nate Silver’s Political Calculus
October 11, 2012, 6:24 pm

Solid South Reversed, but Still Divided by Race

By MICAH COHEN

We continue our Presidential Geography series, an examination of each state’s political landscape and how it’s changing. Here is a special two-in-one look at Alabama, the Yellowhammer State, and Mississippi, the Magnolia State. FiveThirtyEight spoke with Marvin King Jr., an assistant professor of political science at the University of Mississippi; Natalie Davis, a professor of political science at Birmingham-Southern College; Jess Brown, a professor of political science and justice studies at Athens State University; and William H. Stewart, a former political science professor at the University of Alabama.

One recurring theme in the states we have profiled so far has been the exodus of Southern whites from the Democratic Party, yielding a striking transformation. The Solid South — so named for the regional hegemony of Democrats — has been reversed, and states that were once Democratic from top to bottom are becoming (or already are) equally Republican.

The evolution has progressed particularly far in the Deep South, but Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas are all at different stages.

Arkansas is Read the rest of this entry »

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Necessary but Not Sufficient: Why Taxing the Wealthy Can’t Fix the Deficit

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 4, 2012

NOW OR NEVER | SEPTEMBER 2012

Necessary but Not Sufficient:
Why Taxing the Wealthy Can’t Fix the Deficit

By David Brown, Gabe Horwitz, and David Kendall

In this paper we shatter the myth that taxes on the wealthy can come close to solving our long-term budget problem. We readily acknowledge that raising taxes on top earners is necessary, but it is not sufficient to solve the looming fiscal crisis. And we make clear that if entitlements are left on autopilot, burdensome middle class tax hikes become inevitable.

Even a 50% tax rate on the wealthy can’t fix the deficit.
Even 50% taxe rate on wealthy can't fix deficitThis is the first in a pair of papers that demonstrate that purely ideological fixes will not sufficiently address our fiscal issues. Our other report, Death by a Thousand Cuts: Why Spending Cuts Alone Won’t Fix the Deficit, proves that a cuts-only strategy cannot solve our budget woes without severely compromising our safety, security, and economic growth. Together, these papers make the case that a big and balanced fiscal package is the preferred way to avoid the fiscal cliff, prevent deficits from exploding in the future, and allow our economy to grow.

To stabilize the debt and create a positive economic climate for U.S. growth, most mainstream economists agree that annual deficits must be reduced to 3% of GDP. The question is: how do we get there?

In order to demonstrate that taxes alone cannot solve our budget woes, we explore three budget scenarios, all of which rely solely on Read the rest of this entry »

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Transcript of Bill Clinton’s Speech to the Democratic National Convention

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, September 10, 2012

Transcript of Bill Clinton’s Speech to the Democratic National Convention

The following is the full text of former President Bill Clinton’s speech on Wednesday from the Democratic National Convention.

September 5, 2012

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Sustained cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Now, Mr. Mayor, fellow Democrats, we are here to nominate a president. (Cheers, applause.) And I’ve got one in mind. (Cheers, applause.)

I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. I want to nominate a man who ran for president to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before his election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression; a man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs that he saved or created, there’d still be millions more waiting, worried about feeding their own kids, trying to keep their hopes alive.

I want to nominate a man who’s cool on the outside — (cheers, applause) — but who burns for America on the inside. (Cheers, applause.)

I want — I want a man who believes with no doubt that we can build a new American Dream economy, driven by innovation and creativity, but education and — yes — by cooperation. (Cheers.)

And by the way, after last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama. (Cheers, applause.)

You know — (cheers, applause). I — (cheers, applause).

I want — I want Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.) And I proudly nominate him to be the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party.

Now, folks, in Tampa a few days ago, we heard a lot of talk — (laughter) — all about how the president and the Democrats don’t really believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everybody to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.

This Republican narrative — this alternative universe — (laughter, applause) — says that every one of us in this room who amounts to anything, we’re all completely self-made. One of the greatest chairmen the Democratic Party ever had, Bob Strauss — (cheers, applause) — used to say that ever politician wants every voter to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself. (Laughter, applause.) But, as Strauss then admitted, it ain’t so. (Laughter.)

We Democrats — we think the country works better with a strong middle class, with real opportunities for poor folks to work their way into it — (cheers, applause) — with a relentless focus on the future, with business and government actually working together to promote growth and broadly share prosperity. You see, we believe that “we’re all in this together” is a far better philosophy than “you’re on your own.” (Cheers, applause.) It is.

So who’s right? (Cheers.) Well, since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats, 24. In those 52 years, our private economy has produced 66 million private sector jobs.

So what’s the job score? Republicans, 24 million; Democrats, 42 (million). (Cheers, applause.)

Now, there’s — (cheers, applause) — there’s a reason for this. It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics. (Cheers, applause.) Why? Because poverty, discrimination and ignorance restrict growth. (Cheers, applause.) When you stifle human potential, when you don’t invest in new ideas, it doesn’t just cut off the people who are affected; it hurts us all. (Cheers, applause.) We know that investments in education and infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase growth. They increase good jobs, and they create new wealth for all the rest of us. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, there’s something I’ve noticed lately. You probably have too. And it’s this. Maybe just because I grew up in a different time, but though I often disagree with Republicans, I actually never Read the rest of this entry »

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DoD says Climate Change is National Security Risk

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 7, 2012

Here’s an item from our “Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Climate Change file.

While there continues to be much frothing about the mouth from conservative and libertarian types about climate change, there remains no doubt of its existence.

Some – mostly Republican & Libertarians – continue to assert that climate change is as much a hoax as the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny or Great Pumpkin. However, to be certain, there is no doubt that change has occurred, and continues to occur. The reason(s) why, and causes of the same are subjects of valid scientific debate and research. But there is no disagreement that change has, and is occurring.

The United States Department of Defense, Read the rest of this entry »

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Today Mitt Romney spoke out of the _?_ side of his mouth, and said:

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 14, 2012

“And you know what he did with it? He’s used it to pay for Obamacare, a risky, unproven, federal takeover of health care.”Mitt Romney

Government estimates say that more than 6,000 jobs statewide and 20 percent of Iowa‘s electricity needs come from wind power, and the state’s senior GOP leaders all support renewing an extension of a wind tax credit that Romney opposes.

Romney’s campaign did not respond to repeated quests for his position on the other portions of the bill, which includes items such as a tax break for developers of NASCAR facilities and purchasers of electric motorcycles.


http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-08-14/gop-ticket-faces-growing-pains-as-dems-attack

FACT: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has determined that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is fully paid for, Read the rest of this entry »

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How to End This Depression

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

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

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

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

Why?

Because Materials and Manpower ALWAYS come from the private sector.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Politics.

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

How to End This Depression

May 24, 2012

Paul Krugman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Oil prices crashed and Chevron still made nearly $24 a barrel

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, July 28, 2012

Must be something to what those kooky Occupy Wall Street type folks, and the evil Democrats are saying.

Oil prices crashed and Chevron still made nearly $24 a barrel

By Ronald D. White; July 27, 2012, 1:32 p.m.

Take just about any business situation in which the value of a company’s primary product suddenly falls by more than 29% and it could be time to panic. Then there is the oil patch, where billions of dollars in profits are possible even after that kind of collapse in crude prices. Chevron Corp. of San Ramon, Calif., is just such an example.

Even with the sharp drop in oil prices that began in the first quarter and ran through the end of the second quarter — a decline from $109.41 a barrel to $77.69 a barrel — Chevron had a positive margin of $23.53 on every barrel of crude it produced, according to analysts. Chevron said its margin was actually $26 a barrel. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can al-Qaeda fund U.S. federal elections & candidates? Yes.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, July 17, 2012

As things exist now, in conjunction with the Supreme Court’s decision on the People United case, there are no limitations on money that comes from 501(c)4 organizations. The category of such organizations under IRS rules 501 (c)(4) exist precisely and exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.

While they are allowed to donate to political contributions (under 40% of their revenue) they have typically NOT been checked by the IRS or other governmental oversight entities, and by law, 501(c)(4) organizations are not required to disclose their donors publicly. Such organizations have also recently been misused and abused by International Terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda, to provide a source of funding for their nefarious means. In essence, they’re being misused and abused to facilitate money laundering.

In 2010, a bill (the DISCLOSE Act) was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that addressed identification of donors to organizations involved in political advocacy, but the Senate Republicans filibustered and prevented a vote on the bill.

Why Republicans – who in the past supported such DISCLOSURE – are now balking at passage of this law is incomprehensible.

Senate Republicans Block Campaign Donor Disclosure Bill

By Jonathan D. Salant on July 17, 2012

The U.S. Senate didn’t advance legislation that would require nonprofit groups to reveal who donates the millions of dollars they spend on campaign ads.

Yesterday’s vote on the Democratic proposal was 51-44, with 60 required to advance it. The measure, opposed by Republicans, is a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 that removed limits on independent spending by corporations and labor unions. Democrats said they would seek another vote today.

Groups that kept their donors secret Read the rest of this entry »

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Who’s a federal budget hawk? Would you guess President Barack Obama?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 25, 2012

Wasn’t it on Dragnet, that character Sergeant Joe Friday made famous this line: Just the facts, Ma’am.”

And then, there’s Reagan, who TRIPLED our national debt, and Bush II whose Iraq War, Wall Street deregulation gave us TARP, and more…

Who Is The Smallest Government Spender Since Eisenhower? Would You Believe It’s Barack Obama?

5/24/2012 @ 6:33PM |22,212 views

It’s enough to make even the most ardent Obama cynic scratch his head in confusion.

Amidst all the cries of Barack Obama being the most prolific big government spender the nation has ever suffered, Marketwatch is reporting that our president has actually been tighter with a buck than any United States president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Who knew?

Check out the chart –

Presidential Spending Reagan-Obama

Presidential Spending Reagan-Obama

So, how have the Republicans managed to pursuade Americans to buy into the whole “Obama as big spender” narrative?

It might have something to do with the first year of the Obama presidency where the federal budget increased a whopping 17.9% —going from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. I’ll bet you think that this is the result of the Obama sponsored stimulus plan that is so frequently vilified by the conservatives…but you would be wrong.

The first year of any incoming president term is saddled—for better or for worse—with the budget set by the president whom immediately precedes the new occupant of the White House. Indeed, not only was the 2009 budget the property of George W. Bush—and passed by the 2008 Congress—it was in effect four months before Barack Obama took the oath of office.

Accordingly, the first budget that can be blamed on our current president began in Read the rest of this entry »

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Tim Geithner is out as Secretary of Treasury. Who’s in?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Good bye, and good riddance.

Robert Reich would do a good job, and he’s been tested and served in other areas in the present, and previous administrations.

Guessing game begins over next Treasury chief

1:05am EDT

By Glenn Somerville

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner takes a tour of the Marlin Steel Wire Products factory in Baltimore, Maryland, May 17, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Wanted for the Treasury Department: a new boss who can fix trillion-dollar-plus budget deficits, overhaul the tax system and spur a reluctant Europe into fixing its debt crisis.

It’s a tall order, especially when the new Treasury chief also must deal with a fractious Congress – and all for a salary lower than that paid to many junior Wall Street bankers.

Economists, investors and veterans of past administrations are appraising potential successors to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, either in a new Obama administration, if President Barack Obama is re-elected, or under Mitt Romney.

Geithner has made it clear that he is leaving the post he has held since January 2009 even if Obama, a Democrat, beats Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, in the November 6 election.

Lots of names are making the rounds. Among Democrats, they include finance leaders like Larry Fink of asset management firm BlackRock and politically connected Washington insiders like fiscal expert Erskine Bowles.

If the White House goes to the Republicans, Read the rest of this entry »

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Thomas Jefferson on “the Buffett Rule”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 23, 2012

How much is enough?

How many houses does a man need to live in?

How many cars does a man need?

In response to the question “Can you ever have enough money?,” billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson replied, “You only need one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner, and therefore the money aspect is not actually that important.”

Thomas Jefferson on the Buffett Rule

by Alan Grayson on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 1:44pm ·

I don’t know what Founding Father and President Thomas Jefferson would have thought about TV, cars, spaceships, cellphones, skyscrapers, computers or nuclear weapons. But I do know what Jefferson would have thought about the Buffett Rule. He would have liked it.

The Buffett Rule is the Obama Administration’s proposal to adopt a 30% minimum tax rate on personal income above $1 million a year. It would promote one of the central tenets of progressivism: that the burden of taxes should fall on the rich, not the poor.

In 1811, two years after Jefferson left the Presidency, Jefferson wrote a letter to General Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a hero of the American Revolution. Jefferson said that he supported taxes (then tariffs, since there was no income tax yet) falling entirely on the wealthy. As Jefferson explained: “The farmer will see Read the rest of this entry »

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“It may not be true, but that’s the way I choose to believe,” and other dumb sayings.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

“It may not be true, but that’s the way I choose to believe.”

Today, I overheard someone make that remark.

It was made in reference to an  issue of faith, or religion, and was an adjunct, or follow-up comment – as if issuing an apology of sorts – to a rather benign and off-the-cuff utterance made by the same person, such as “God bless you,” or “the good LORD willing, and the creek don’t rise.”

Who made it, and where it was made is of no consequence.

What I’d like to focus upon is Read the rest of this entry »

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Rest In… Pieces of A Man, Gil Scott-Heron

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, May 28, 2011

The world learned of musician poet/author Gil Scott-Heron‘s death via Twittter from his manager Jamie Byng.

His voice was one that demonstrated a strong sense of outrage over social injustice, and will be sorely missed.

Early in his life, his parents divorced where they lived in Chicago, and his mother moved him to Jackson, Tennessee where he was raised by his grandmother Lillie Scott.

He first came to public renown through his recording “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” which was a semi-prophetic commentary upon the times in which we now find ourselves.

Known for Read the rest of this entry »

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Politics as usual in Alabama, and in D.C.?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, February 4, 2011

It’s a disheartening state of affairs to learn that even such accusations could even be considered partially, even possibly true. Where is our political “high road”? The more secretive our government becomes – and we are witnessing increased secrecy, much under the guise of “privacy,” or “executive privilege” – the more tyrannical and prone to corruption our government becomes. The Founding Fathers knew that well. Open government demonstrates to EVERYONE that accountability to EVERYONE is ongoing. When there are no “smoke-filled backroom deals,” no “cloak and dagger,” there is no reason to hide. Political partisans are are NOT enemies, we are brothers living in the same house.

Riley’s final days filled with checks, deals

Posted: Thursday, February 3, 2011 6:00 am
by Bob Martin, The Montgomery Independent, TheWetumpkaHerald.com

…Click HERE to Read more!

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Godly Social Values

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, February 4, 2010

You know, Jim, as I continue to reflect upon the issues about which we spoke this evening, I – being an ardent observer of …Continue…

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