Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘Mitch McConnell’

Mitch McConnell: Acquittal Vindicated the Constitution, Not Trump

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

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Joseph Story (1779-1845), Daguerreotype portrait by Matthew Brady’s Studio c.1844/45

Joseph Story (1779-1845) was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, nominated by President James Madison, who served in office from February 3, 1812 until September 10, 1845.

He was also: Republican Congressman from Massachusetts, 1808-1809; Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1811-1845; Acting Chief Justice, 1835-1836, 1844; Professor of Law Harvard University 1829-1845.

He is perhaps most renown for his work “Commentaries On The Constitution of the United States” which was first published in 1833, though he authored several other books on the law, and Constitution.

The United States Constitution states in part as follows:

Article I, Section 3, Clause 7:
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Article II, Section 4:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Justice Story wrote about the matter of impeachment at great length, and in part wrote that:

§393. It is obvious, that, upon trials on impeachments, one of two courses must be adopted in case of a conviction; either for the court to proceed to pronounce a full and complete sentence of punishment for the offence according to the law of the land in like cases, pending in the common tribunals of justice, superadding the removal from office, and the consequent disabilities; or, to confine its sentence to the removal from office and other disabilities. If the former duty be a part of the constitutional functions of the court, then, in case of an acquittal, there cannot be another trial of the party for the same offence in the common tribunals of justice, because it is repugnant to the whole theory of the common law, that a man should be brought into jeopardy of life or limb more than once for the same offence. A plea of acquittal is, therefore, an absolute bar against any second prosecution for the same offence. If the court of impeachments is merely to pronounce a sentence of removal from office and the other disabilities; then it is indispensable, that provision should be made, that the common tribunals of justice should be at liberty to entertain jurisdiction of the offence, for the purpose of inflicting the common punishment applicable to unofficial offenders. Otherwise, it might be matter of extreme doubt, whether, consistently with the great maxim above mentioned, established for the security of the life and limbs and liberty of the citizen, a second trial for the same offence could be had, either after an acquittal, or a conviction in the court of impeachments. And if no such second trial could be had, then the grossest official offenders might escape without any substantial punishment, even for crimes, which would subject their fellow citizens to capital punishment. [emphasis added]

§394. The constitution, then, having provided, that judgment upon impeachments shall not extend further, than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold office, (which, however afflictive to an ambitious and elevated mind, would be scarcely felt, as a punishment, by the profligate and the base,) has wisely subjected the party to trial in the common criminal tribunals, for the purpose of receiving such punishment, as ordinarily belongs to the offence. Thus, for instance, treason, which by our laws is a capital offence, may receive its appropriate punishment ; and bribery in high officers, which otherwise would be a mere disqualification from office, may have the measure of its infamy dealt out to it with the same unsparing severity, which attends upon other and humbler offenders.

Joseph Story, “Commentaries On The Constitution of the United States” §393, §394, p278-280, Book III, chapter X; 1833

How the cowardly, weasel-like jellyfish of a man “Moscow Mitch, the Bitch” McConnell could POSSIBLY use the word “vindicate” in reference to the United States Constitution is beyond the scope of imagination – however derelict and perverted it may be – and it is definitely most perverted.

McConnell wrote “Our job wasn’t to find some way, any way, to inflict a punishment. The Senate’s first and foundational duty was to protect the Constitution.” -and- that “The text is unclear” about impeachment, whether “the Senate can try and convict former officers.”

McConnell had also earlier written a “dear colleague” letter to his fellow Banana Republicans in the Senate, in which he wrote in pertinent part that “I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal…”

His mind is like concrete – thoroughly mixed, and permanently set.

The cases of Tennessee United States Senator William Blount – impeached July 7, 1797, on charges of conspiring to assist in Great Britain’s attempt to seize Spanish-controlled territories in modern-day Florida and Louisiana, tried December 17, 1798–January 14, 1799 – and Ulysses Grant’s Secretary of War William Belknap – who tendered his resignation March 2, 1876 only moments before the House impeached him, was tried March 3–August 1, 1876 – demonstrate very clearly that officials may be tried on impeachment charges after they’re out of office. Or else, it completely absolves any official of any responsibility for any act of criminal wrong-doing while in office. It is the intellectual and moral equivalent of saying “so-and-so doesn’t live in Texas anymore, and moved to Minnesota 10 years ago, so s/he can’t be tried for murder or any crimes committed while residing in Texas.”

To assert as much is so absurdly preposterous that it defies imagination.

It’s an ethically reprehensible, morally wrong and judiciously untenable to deny anyone – including society – justice. And that is, in effect, what has happened with Donald Trump; society has been denied justice for the reprehensible, morally repugnant, and outright illegal acts of Donald Trump while in office as the President.

McConnell claims that Trump can be tried in other courts, and cites Justice Story’s writing that:

“There is also much force in the remark, that an impeachment is a proceeding purely of a political nature. It is not so much designed to punish an offender, as to secure the state against gross official misdemeanors. It touches neither his person, nor his property ; but simply divests him of his political capacity.” –– §406, chapter X, book III, p289

“And the final judgment is confined to a removal from, and disqualification for, office ; thus limiting the punishment to such modes of redress, as are peculiarly fit for a political tribunal to administer, and as will secure the public against political injuries. In other respects the offence is left to be disposed of by the common tribunals of justice, accord- ing to the laws of the land, upon an indictment found by a grand jury, and a trial by jury of peers, before whom the party is to stand for his final deliverance, like his fellow citizens.” –– §407, chapter X, book III, p290

But, rest assured: Trump is completely free and clear of any charges related to impeachment. However, there are other charges at the state level which he may face for things he did while in office, including most notably, attempting to persuade Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger to manipulate the results of the election in that state to throw the election to Trump’s favor. The Fulton County District Attorney, and Georgia State Attorney General are investigating that matter.

And just to be utterly and absolutely certain, the word “vindicate” is defined as meaning:

1. To clear of accusation, blame, suspicion, or doubt with supporting arguments or proof: “Our society permits people to sue for libel so that they may vindicate their reputations” (Irving R. Kaufman).
2. To defend, maintain, or insist on the recognition of (one’s rights, for example).
3. To demonstrate or prove the value or validity of; justify: The results of the experiment vindicated her optimism.
4. Obsolete To exact revenge for; avenge.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition.)

1. to clear from guilt, accusation, blame, etc, as by evidence or argument
2. to provide justification for: his promotion vindicated his unconventional attitude.
3. to uphold, maintain, or defend (a cause, etc): to vindicate a claim.
4. (Law) Roman law to bring an action to regain possession of (property) under claim of legal title
5. (Historical Terms) Roman law to bring an action to regain possession of (property) under claim of legal title
6. rare to claim, as for oneself or another
7. obsolete to take revenge on or for; punish
8. obsolete to set free
(Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014)
1. to clear, as from an accusation or suspicion: to vindicate someone’s honor.
2. to afford justification for; justify.
3. to uphold or justify by argument or evidence.
4. to maintain or defend against opposition.
5. to claim for oneself or another.
6. Obs. to avenge.
7. Obs. to free.
8. Obs. to punish.
(Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010)

“Moscow Mitch, the Bitch” McConnell is a Banana Republican from Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader, the biggest weasel in Washington, D.C., and an ardent, though oblique, supporter of the Cult of Trump.


Acquittal Vindicated the Constitution, Not Trump

wsj.com
Sunday, February 14, 2021
by Mitch McConnell

January 6 was a shameful day. A mob bloodied law enforcement and besieged the first branch of government. American citizens tried to use terrorism to stop a democratic proceeding they disliked.

There is no question former President Trump bears moral responsibility. His supporters stormed the Capitol because of the unhinged falsehoods he shouted into the world’s largest megaphone. His behavior during and after the chaos was also unconscionable, from attacking Vice President Mike Pence during the riot to praising the criminals after it ended.

President-elect Donald Trump leaves a meeting with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, at the U.S. Capitol November 10, 2016 in Washington, DC Zach Gibson/Getty Images

I was as outraged as any member of Congress. But senators take our own oaths. Our job wasn’t to find some way, any way, to inflict a punishment. The Senate’s first and foundational duty was to protect the Constitution.

Some brilliant scholars believe Read the rest of this entry »

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John C. Calhoun and the Racist Roots of the Senate Filibuster

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, January 22, 2021

Following are excerpted portions of the in-depth interview, which may be read in its entirety, or heard, via the link at the end this entry.


Book ‘Kill Switch’ Examines The Racist History Of The Senate Filibuster

TERRY GROSS, HOST: Congress is trying to return to normal after the insurrection. But what is normal? There are more threats of violence surrounding the inauguration. The norm-breaking that became the norm during the Trump presidency is about to change with the Biden administration. Another change will be the new Democratic majority in the Senate. After newly elected Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are sworn in, the Senate will be evenly divided, 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats. But Vice President Kamala Harris will have the tie-breaking vote.

But how much power does that actually give Democrats in the Senate? A majority is not enough to pass legislation anymore and hasn’t been for a long time because of the modern use of the filibuster. It takes three-fifths of the Senate to override a filibuster, which means the minority only needs 41 votes to prevent any bill from even coming to a vote. My guest Adam Jentleson says the modern use of the filibuster has crippled American democracy, enabling the minority to systematically block bills favored by the majority. He’s the author of the new book, “Kill Switch,” about the rise of the modern Senate. He knows the ins and outs of Senate rules because he worked as Harry Reid’s deputy chief of staff when Reid was the Democratic leader. Jentleson joined Reid’s staff in 2010 and stayed until 2017.

“Kill Switch” is a history of how the filibuster started as a tool of Southern senators upholding slavery, and then later was used as a tool to block civil rights legislation. The book concludes with Senator Mitch McConnell’s advances in the use of filibuster as an obstructionist tool. Jentleson is now public affairs director at Democracy Forward, which was founded in 2017 to fight corruption in the executive branch.

ADAM JENTLESON: Slowly, over the course of time, but primarily to serve the interests of slave states and try to preserve slavery against the march of progress and a growing majority of both states and Americans who wanted to abolish slavery. The filibuster did not exist in name or practice until about the middle of the 19th century. So this was well after all of the Founding Fathers had passed away. James Madison was one of the longest lived and an ardent opponent of the filibuster to the extent that it sort of was coming into existence in the 1830s. And he passed away in the early 1830s.

John C. Calhoun (1782-1850), United States Representative of South Carolina-CD6, 10th Secretary of War, 16th Secretary of State, Senator of South Carolina, and 7th Vice President (1825-1832), ardent slavery proponent, and slave owner.

So the progenitor of the filibuster, its main innovator, was John C. Calhoun, the great nullifier, the leader, father of the Confederacy. And Calhoun innovated the filibuster for the specific purpose of empowering the planter class. He was a senator from South Carolina. His main patrons were the powerful planters. And he was seeking to create a regional constituency to empower himself against the march of progress and against – what was becoming clear was a superior economic model in the North. So Calhoun started to innovate forms of obstruction that came to be known as the filibuster.

GROSS: So you describe John Calhoun as, like, basically, the father of the filibuster. Let’s be clear who he was. I mean, he not only wanted to protect slave owners, he argued that slavery created racial harmony and improved the lives of slaves. You quote him in the book. He said, never before has the Black race of Central Africa, from the dawn of history to the present day, attained a condition so civilized and improved, not only physically, but morally and intellectually. Amazing that he could justify that slavery was improving the lives of enslaved people.

JENTLESON: That’s right. And it’s important to note at this time, you know – not to give people of that era too much credit for being enlightened. But, you know, there was a shift in public opinion going on regarding slavery in the United States. The abolitionist movement was beginning to gain traction. And, you know, while folks weren’t exactly at the enlightened state of believing in full equality, they recognized that slavery had – was, at best, a necessary evil, emphasis on the evil.

And so Calhoun took it upon himself to argue that there was nothing evil about it. In that same speech that you quoted, he went on to explain that slavery was not a necessary evil, but, quote, “a positive good.” He was such an ardent defender and such a vehement racist that he couldn’t even accept the sort of antebellum acknowledgement that there were parts of the institution that were evil. So it was very clear what his motivations were. He wanted to preserve slavery. And the filibuster was what he deployed to achieve that goal.

GROSS: So we’ve established that needing a supermajority to pass legislation was not what the founders wanted. They wanted simple majorities. You’ve talked about how the filibuster was initiated in the mid-19th century and the ways it was used to enable slave owners and to keep the institution of slavery. But you write that the only time the filibuster was used during Jim Crow with any consistency was to block any form of civil rights legislation and that this happened through the 1960s.

So give us an example of that – like, of the systematic use of the filibuster to block civil rights legislation.

JENTLESON: So what Southern senators faced starting in the 1920s was majority support for civil rights bills. These were rudimentary civil rights bills. These were anti-lynching bills and anti-poll tax bills, but they were civil rights bills nonetheless. These bills started passing the House with big majorities. They had presidents of both parties in the White House ready to sign them, and they actually had enormous public support. Gallup polled the public on anti-lynching bills in 1937 and found 70% of Americans supporting federal anti-lynching laws. And they polled anti-poll tax laws in the 1940s and found 60% support. So Southern senators started to block these bills in the name of minority rights Read the rest of this entry »

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On Interpreting The Constitution

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Amy Coney Barrett before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary for her nomination to the United States Supreme Court

Much has been made in recent days about Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the President’s nominee to fill the vacancy on the United States Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Barrett has her critics. I am one. But there are other criticisms, including of the rushed process, which I too, hold. Rushed things hardly ever have good results.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has indicated that the full Senate will most likely have a vote on Judge Barrett on Monday, 26 October 2020 – a mere 31 days since her nomination on 26 September 2020. In stark contrast, her initial nomination to the Federal judiciary took 5 months 24 days.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has published a paper entitled “Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee,” (R44235) first published on October 19, 2015, and updated periodically, and most recently on September 28, 2020, which answers some essentially basic questions about the nomination process, and provides background, and historical overview for the same. The “CRS serves as nonpartisan shared staff to congressional committees and Members of Congress. It operates solely at the behest of and under the direction of Congress.”

Regarding Judge Barrett’s Judicial “style” which she and others call “textualism,” and or “originalism,” it seems to me to be a rather bizarre way to think of the document which forms the foundation of our government, which has endured since it was written and ratified in the late 1700’s. Doubtless, the Founders, and those alive then could not begin to conceive of plucking stardust from an asteroid (which NASA recently did) to analyze, communicating instantaneously with someone on the opposite side of the globe using video teleconferencing on a hand-held device, traveling faster than the speed of sound, splitting the atom, and using laser light to communicate, so why would we begin to imagine that we should adhere to some arbitrary, or even capricious standard to interpret what it means to, or for us, today?

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed it best in this brief story, why “originalism” and “textualism” are misguided rules.

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she is preparing for when Amy Coney Barrett takes her seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. She was asked to share her thoughts Tuesday on the judge and minced no words.

Mayor Lightfoot was first asked if she views the U.S. Constitution as Judge Barrett does, as an “originalist.”

Originalists firmly believe all statements in the U.S. Constitution must be strictly interpreted based on the original understanding at the time the Constitution was adopted. They do not believe in the concept of a “Living Constitution” that can be interpreted in the context of current times.

“You ask a gay, black woman if she is an originalist? No, ma’am, I am not,” Lightfoot laughed.

“That the Constitution didn’t consider me a person in any way, shape or form because I’m a woman, because I’m black, because I’m gay? I am not an originalist. I believe in the Constitution. I believe that it is a document that the founders intended to evolve and what they did was set the framework for how our country was going to be different from any other.”

“But originalists say that, ‘Let’s go back to 1776 and whatever was there in the original language, that’s it.’ That language excluded, now, over 50 percent of the country. So, no I’m not an originalist.”

Mayor Lightfoot said she’s deeply worried about some of Judge Barrett’s stated views, for instance, being against gay marriage.

“I deeply worry about this woman’s stated views. She’s on the record on a number of different things, not the least of which is thinking that gay marriage is something that shouldn’t be countenanced. And she’s got soulmates in Justice Thomas and others, who think that the decision by the Supreme Court…should somehow be rolled back,” Lightfoot said.

“What should I tell my daughter — that somehow now my wife and I are no longer married? That we’re no longer legitimately recognized in the eyes of the law? That is dangerous, dangerous territory. And what about a woman’s right to choose? We’re gonna keep re-litigating this issue, and we’re gonna make abortion illegal, as Amy Coney Barrett thinks it should be?”

The Mayor also called Republicans “hypocrites” for pushing the Barrett nomination when they put off taking up the Merrick Garland nomination by President Obama.

“The hypocrisy is something that is a bitter pill for me to swallow,” Lightfoot said.

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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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Mitch McConnell: Legislative Grim Reaper casts “a veto over Americans’ political speech.”

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

A billboard on I-65 in Horse Cave, KY. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Term Limits, anyone?

How about a functioning Congress, instead?

Specifically, I mean to refer to the GOP-majority-led Senate under Majority Leader “Moscow” Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Addison Mitchell McConnell has been in the Senate since 1984 – 36 years.

In his early years in the Senate, he was more pragmatic, but as the years wore on, he became increasingly intransigent, and in the last year (since April 2019) took great delight in calling himself “The Grim Reaper” of House-passed bills, meaning that he would refuse to allow any bills from the House to come to the floor of the Senate for debate.

And with over 400 bills from the House sitting on his desk, he has done precisely that.

Legislation dealing with Read the rest of this entry »

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Did Trump ever express concern for Ukraine corruption BEFORE Joe Biden started campaigning?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 30, 2020

While the news reporting outlets (aka “media”) do their best to report on the goings-on of the Senate Trial of the Impeachment of Donald John Trump, President of the United States, they are hampered significantly because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has disallowed electronic devices in the chambers – even for Senators – and the press is squirreled away in a little cubby corner of the viewing gallery on the 2nd floor.

The only cameras are 2 television cameras owned/operated by the Senate. Even C-SPAN (the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network) must carry the Senate’s broadcast version of the public proceedings.

Majority Leader McConnell did that specifically to limit exposure of the event to the press, which in turn reports to the public. He claimed that it would prevent “grandstanding” and “preening” by the Senators to the press, some of whom have a well-known-and-deserved reputation for being attention hogs.

West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd’s body lies in repose in the United States Senate Chamber. Pool photograph by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

As an aside, the Senate is, as groups go, a very stodgy group of curmudgeonly old White men (primarily). Unlike the more vigorous (some say rancorous) House of Representatives, they are very “straight-laced,” and sticklers for the rules – which Majority Leader McConnell enforces with an iron fist. Aside from the C-SPAN cameras during Senate proceedings, they do not allow (and have not allowed) photography. During the funeral for Senator Robert C. Bryd (D-WV), the longest-serving Senator, a rarity of a still camera was allowed to make a few limited photographs of the event.
Read the related story here: https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/behind-46/

“The very Senate that has defied still photographers and an independent television camera asked both Sotomayor and Kagan in their confirmation hearings if they would support camera coverage of Supreme Court proceedings,” Mr. Crowley said.

As it is now, he said, “every image you see out of the House and Senate, except the State of the Union, is controlled by the government.”

“They would say, ‘Senator Byrd doesn’t want any technology in there.’ They used him as an excuse.”

“With respect to Senator Byrd,” Mr. Crowley said, “I hope the leadership of both chambers will revisit the issue.”

Often, try as they might, the media doesn’t get it 100% error-free, though to their credit, they often acknowledge that their transcriptions are rushed, and for that reason, may contain errors. Thus, the only spot-on word-for-word transcript of the days proceedings are to be found in the Congressional Record of the Senate, which is published daily.

The following is excerpted from the CRS. The “S663” refers to the page number in the journal from which it is taken, and refers specifically to the Senate’s proceedings. The “116” in the url refers to the 116th Congress, while “CREC” in the url refers to “Congressional RECord.”

Congressional Record – Senate S663 January 29, 2020

https://www.congress.gov/116/crec/2020/01/29/CREC-2020-01-29-pt1-PgS645-2.pdf

–––––

Ms. COLLINS. Mr. Chief Justice.

The CHIEF JUSTICE. Senator.

Ms. COLLINS. I send a question to the desk on behalf of myself and Senator MURKOWSKI.

The CHIEF JUSTICE. Thank you. The question is to counsel for the President: Witnesses testified before the House that President Trump consistently expressed the view that Ukraine was a corrupt country. Before Vice President Biden formally entered the 2020 presidential race in April 2019, did President Trump ever mention Joe or Hunter Biden in connection with corruption in Ukraine to former Ukrainian President Poroshenko or other Ukrainian officials, President Trump’s cabinet members or top aides, or others? If so, what did the President say to whom and when?

Mr. Counsel PHILBIN. Mr. Chief Justice, Senators, thank you for that question. Of course, I think it is important at the outset to frame the answer by bearing in mind I am limited to what is in the record, and Read the rest of this entry »

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Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 3, 2019

There’s absolutely and utterly no reason for the senseless gun violence and deaths in our nation which have resulted from laxative gun laws.

Period.

Congress has the authority to act, and efforts to protect our people from such predators is hampered by the GOP, especially and particularly in the Senate.

Full stop.

Offers of “thoughts and prayers” will no longer cut it. Besides, “We the people” do NOT elect national prayer leaders, or religious folks for their alleged ability to call down from the heavens acts by the gods and/or goddesses they purport to represent and/or serve… instead of the people who elected them, who are their constituency.

There’s always truth in humor, and often, satirical illustrations serve to explain the problems sometimes much better than actual explanations of the problems at hand. Comedians such as Dave Chappelle – winner of the 2019 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, awarded annually by the Kennedy Center for the Arts, will be given to him October 27, 2019 – has become renown for his absurdist skits and comedy routines which have included one colloquially known as “The Black White Racist” in which a reporter for Frontline (an actual investigative journalism documentary news show on PBS – see here: https://www.pbs.org/show/frontline/) finds and interviews a blind racist who “has been the leading voice of the White Supremacist movement in America” sequestered in the remote hills of an unnamed rural Southern state.

The skit, recorded when Chappelle was then performing for The Comedy Channel, remains one of his most well-known skits, and may be viewed online here ( ARTICLE CONTINUED BELOW):

So, along that line… what if Wal-Mart banned dildos?

Realistically, that idea is not too far-fetched.

Here’s why.

In Alabama, that state’s legislators some years ago – in 1998 – forbade “any person to knowingly distribute, possess with intent to distribute, or offer or agree to distribute any obscene material or any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for any thing of pecuniary value.” (Code of Alabama 13A-12-200.2)

It became known as the state’s “anti-dildo law,” and a challenge to it was defeated by a three-judge panel in Federal court by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2005, and was subsequently refused to be heard by the United States Supreme Court, which marked the legal end of the road for that effort.

In 2007, the law was openly mocked by several individuals in the state who challenged its legality on state constitutional grounds, and illustrated its absurdity and invasion of privacy. On September 11, 2009, the state’s Supreme Court ruled against a legal challenge from the owner of a chain of sex toy stores in the state, and the law became settled. And because almost every law has a legal loophole (exception), the Code of Alabama in Section 13A-12-200.4 Affirmative Defenses states that “It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge of violating Sections 13A-12-200.2 and 13A-12-200.3 that the act charged was done for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial, or law enforcement purpose.”

But regardless of the law, those items continue to be sold in the state because they’re marketed as novelty or educational items, while garments are sold as costumes. Because the state has refused to enforce the law, the state’s stance amounts to nothing more than hypocrisy. Politicians who run on the GOD ticket have to make themselves look good to their pastoral flock, you know.

Which again, brings us full-circle to absurdity.

What if Wal-Mart banned dildos?

The GOPers in the Congress have taken a passive aggressive stance by refusing to act, which effectively allows deaths from gun violence to proliferate. The mostly-GOP crowd says they’re not going to do anything but offer “thoughts and prayers,” while GOP Senate Majority Leader “Moscow Mitch” McConnell from Kentucky has said he won’t even consider legislation when he made the following remark on a far right-wing extremist talk radio show hosted by Read the rest of this entry »

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Political Power Hunger: What Goes Around, Comes Around -or- Brett Kavanaugh Loves Merrick Garland, And Other Absurdities

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 5, 2018

“In the 12 years you’ve been on the D.C. Circuit,
of all the matters that you, and Chief Judge Garland have voted on together,
that you voted together 93% of the time.
Not only that, of the 28 published opinions that you’ve authored
– where Chief Judge Garland was on the panel –
Chief Judge Garland joined 27 out of the 28 opinions you issued when you were on the panel together.
In other words,
he joined 96% of the panel opinions that you’ve written,
when he was on the panel with you.
And the same’s true in the reverse.
Of the 30 published opinions that Chief Judge Garland has written on a panel,
you’ve joined 28 out of 30 of them
– over 93% of those opinions.“

– TX US Senator Ted Cruz (R), as Senate Judiciary Committee member to Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where Merrick Garland is Chief Judge

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (b.1970), Official portrait

Like many, it disgusts me to see the shenanigans that is now passing as a nomination process for Justice to the United States Supreme Court. And just to be clear, I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of any political party.

So, how did we get into this disgusting fray in which a Supreme Court nominee is alleged to have committed felony acts as an older teen?

How did a Constitutionally Mandated process, such as a Supreme Court nomination, become a national disgrace, a veritable circus of hyperbole, scandal, disgrace, outpouring of debauchery, immorality, and even international embarrassment?

In order to answer those questions and more, we must first examine the irony of hypocrisy in an historical context.

Antonin Scalia (1936-2016), Associate Justice, 2013 portrait.

• On February 13, 2016, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, aged 79, was found dead, apparently having died in his sleep while on a quail hunting trip at Cibolo Creek Ranch near Shafter, one of many Texas ghost towns. Of note, he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 1986 after nomination by then-POTUS Ronald Reagan.

President Barack Obama (b.1961), Official portrait, Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

• On March 16, 2016, Read the rest of this entry »

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The @GOP’s Love/Hate Relationship With @realDonaldTrump Is Beginning To Show Hair

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

November 12, 2016
Day 4: The shit’s starting to hit the fam… er, fan

Donald Trump, the GOP Presidential nominee who appears to have won the 2016 General Election, has reportedly made remarks that he might not, after all, as he proclaimed in his “Contract with the American Voter” that he would “5.) Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act. Fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines…”

Strike One:
According to his first post-election interview, which was exclusive to the Wall Street Journal, “President-elect Donald Trump said he would consider leaving in place certain parts of the Affordable Care Act,” and that “Mr. Trump said he favors keeping the prohibition against insurers denying coverage because of patients’ existing conditions, and a provision that allows parents to provide years of additional coverage for children [up to age 26] on their insurance policies.”

Regular readers will recall that yesterday I had made the same observation, that portions of the law are worth keeping.

 President-elect Donald Trump leaves a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), at the U.S. Capitol November 10, 2016 in Washington, DC Zach Gibson/Getty Images

President-elect Donald Trump leaves a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), at the U.S. Capitol November 10, 2016 in Washington, DC Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Strike Two:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY, R) has pointedly said he opposes and will refuse Trump’s first order of business in his Contract with the American Voter which is “Constitutional Amendment for Congressional Term Limits.” The Senator, who has been in office since 1984 (32 years), said, “I would say we have term limits now. They’re called elections. And it will not be on the agenda in the Senate.”

Strike Three:
Furthermore, McConnnell has also said that he’s opposed to Read the rest of this entry »

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Exactly whose idea was this “Sequester” thing anyway?

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

Whose idea was this “sequester” anyway?

Would you believe Mitch McConnell & John Boehner?

Yeah, but McConnell & the GOP are calling it “the president’s sequester”!

Yes, they are. And they want to deceive you.

In other words, they’re lying.

Kentucky’s senior Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, who is the Senate Minority Leader, along with Speaker of the House of Representatives Ohio Congressman John Boehner have both called the impending drastic across-the-board budget cuts & tax increases as “the president’s sequester.”

However, the idea did NOT originate with President Obama.

For the benefit of those whose (choose any combination of the following):
1.) Memories are short, and/or;
2.) Weren’t paying attention in class and/or;
3.) Believe teevee’s talking heads, and/or;
4.) Believe the GOP.

Give particular attention to the last paragraph in the first story, which states in part that,

“McConnell, the chief Republican architect of the compromise, has been adamant that no tax increases will come out of the joint committee. And he and Boehner have effective control given that they will hand-pick six of the 12 members. That said, the defense lobby — a strong force still among Republicans —will most feel the impact of any sequester, and the industry is already being squeezed by the revised appropriations targets set for 2012 and 2013.”

Finally, I would remind the reader that because the GOP’s radical philosophical ideology of privatizing practically every government service (which places public tax dollars in private pockets – is that anything like “welfare”?) harsh across-the-board budget cuts are precisely what the GOP has begged for from Day One.

Debt ceiling disaster averted, but nobody’s really happy

By: David Rogers
August 2, 2011 11:30 PM EST

Running short of cash, Treasury won an immediate reprieve of $400 billion in new borrowing authority Tuesday with the enactment of a hotly contested debt and deficit-reduction agreement hammered out between Republicans and the White House on Sunday night.

President Barack Obama, not hiding his frustration, quickly signed the measure sent to him by Congress after a final 74-26 Senate roll call, capping an unprecedented hard-edged political struggle that had pushed the nation to the brink of default.

Indeed, the stakes were far larger than with the April shutdown fight, and more than any single event this year, the debt battle captured all the power — and critics would say extreme risk-taking — of the anti-government backlash that fueled the GOP’s gains in the 2010 elections.

The timing makes it a gamble too with the faltering recovery. Most of the promised $2.1 trillion in deficit reduction will take place in the out years, but discretionary spending will continue to fall in 2012 and the same Congressional Budget Office — which scored the cuts — will soon issue its August economic update, which could show slower growth.

House Speaker John Boehner has argued the opposite: More aggressively addressing deficits “will in fact provide more confidence for employers in America, the people we expect to reinvest in our economy and create jobs.” But a sell-off Tuesday on Wall Street sent the Dow down 265 points, reflecting growing pessimism about the economic outlook. And as lawmakers left for the summer recess, Democrats vowed to turn the agenda more toward job creation when they return.

“We crossed a bridge,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “Enough talk about the debt. We have to talk about jobs.”

Obama signaled as much in a Rose Garden appearance after the Senate vote. Extending his 2-percentage-point cut in payroll taxes remains a priority and the appropriations bargain, Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama’s Two Greatest Problems: Ignorance & Apathy

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

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

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

Naturally, that was the correct answer.

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

Of course, that Read the rest of this entry »

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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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