Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘money’

Deceit And Treachery Continue In #ALpolitics

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 21, 2017

In case you’ve been under a rock for the past 4 years or more, Alabama’s two-term Republican Governor Dr. Dr. Robert Bentley, M.D. was forced to resign from office amidst ongoing impeachment proceedings resulting from a sex & corruption scandal in which he significantly abused the power of the office for personal gain, then under pressure, and facing possible felony charges, entered a plea agreement in which he pled guilty to two misdemeanor campaign finance violations, agreed to other court-ordered stipulations including never again to “seek or serve in any public office,” pay fines & court costs, surrender campaign funds, render Community Service as a physician, submitted his resignation, whereupon Republican Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey – formerly State Treasurer – took office as Governess.

It seemed most everybody was happy as a lark.

Until…

Until those damn pesky reporters started snooping around the back door.

Then, it turns out, they found evidence that strongly suggests she isn’t in good health, and so much so to the extent that her ability to govern and think clearly may be called into question.

According to an investigative report and story by Josh Moon, a Journalist with Alabama Political Reporter, “Gov. Kay Ivey’s office declined to confirm on Thursday that she had been admitted to a Colorado hospital for “stroke-like” issues in April 2015, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency all but did. Read the rest of this entry »

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BIG INSURANCE Companies Fear Single Payer For ONE Reason

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 12, 2017

A friend had shared the opening paragraph, upon which I remarked.

My response follows.

“At the risk of stating the obvious, I feel compelled to note that insurance companies do not exist to provide health care. They exist to make money. Big money. Big money at your time of greatest vulnerability. This happens by raising income as much as possible and limiting “risk” as much as possible. Now go ponder the implications.”

—/—

And that is the single greatest reason why a Read the rest of this entry »

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All Trumped Up Over The FISA Court

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

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

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

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

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

The CIA is an independent agency.

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

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Free Enterprise And #Beer

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

I am a FIRM PROPONENT of ENTREPRENEURSHIP, FREE ENTERPRISE, and FAIR COMPETITION.

budweiser-beer-original-logoabinbev-china-logoFor that reason, and others, I have NOT purchased an AB-InBev product in quite some time, not only because of the inferior quality of their products, but because it is a greedy, global, monolithic oligopolic (virtually monopoly) enterprise.

It is NOT an American company, and ceased being an American company when it SOLD OUT to the Belgian brewing company InBev for around $52 billion in 2008. From then, the company was named AB-InBev.

Molson Canadian Lager beer, original bottle, brewed in Montreal, CanadaTo add insult to injury, the U.S. Department of Justice OK’d a deal in 2016 in which AB-InBev BOUGHT SABMiller’s U.S. business which in turn, would allow Molson Coors to Read the rest of this entry »

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Citizens United Ruling Violates Equal Protection Clause

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

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

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

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Build The Wall: A Simple How-To Primer

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, January 8, 2017

On June 16, 2015, when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for United States President, he said in part, “I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.”

Trump has estimated construction costs could range from $8-12 Billion, that it should be be made of precast concrete, rise 35 to 40 feet, or 50 feet, or higher, and that it doesn’t need to span the entire distance of the border, but only half because of natural barriers.

Accurate official Cost Estimates to build The Wall are sketchy, and a 2009 report by the Congressional Research Service  found that the challenges include “costs versus benefits, location, design, environmental impact, potential diplomatic ramifications, and the costs of acquiring the land needed for construction.”

Projected costs vary widely, and the report stated that:

The Corps of Engineers study predicted that the costs of constructing a double layer fence consisting of primary fencing and Sandia fencing would range from $1.2 million to $1.3 million a mile, excluding the costs of land acquisition. The Corps of Engineers also predicted that the 25-year life cycle cost of the fence would range from $16.4 million to $70 million per mile depending on the amount of damage sustained by the fencing.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that border fencing would cost $3 million a mile to construct and that maintenance would total roughly 15% of the overall project costs per year.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the border fencing constructed by the end of FY2007 (using mostly the Corps of Engineers and the National Guard to construct the fencing) cost about $2.8 million a mile. The fencing constructed in FY2008, using mostly private constructors, cost about $5.1 million a mile.

In “Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, Committee on Homeland Security, House of Representatives” entitled “SOUTHWEST BORDER SECURITY: Additional Actions Needed to Assess Resource Deployment and Progress; Statement of Rebecca Gambler, Director, Homeland Security and Justice” published Tuesday, March 1, 2016, the U.S. Government Accountability Office stated that:

“In addition, with regard to fencing and other tactical infrastructure, CBP reported that from fiscal year 2005 through May 2015, the total miles of vehicle and pedestrian fencing along the nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border increased from approximately 120 miles to 652 miles. With the completion of the new fencing and other tactical infrastructure, DHS is now responsible for maintaining this infrastructure including repairing breached sections of fencing.”

See also: Highlights of GAO-16-465T, a testimony before the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, Committee on Homeland Security, House of Representatives.

And make no mistake, Public Law 109–367 enacted by the 109th Congress, also known as the “Secure Fence Act of 2006” requires that “the Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide for least 2 layers of reinforced fencing, the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors…” at specified locations. But in typical Congressional fashion, the law was changed in 2008, and the fence requirements contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, still mandates the construction of a fence covering “not less than 700 miles” of the border, but eliminated the requirement that the fence be double-layered. According to “Remarks by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson: “Border Security in the 21st Century” – As Delivered,” “in Fiscal Year 2000 we had 10 miles of secondary fence along the southwest border; today we have 36.3 miles of secondary fence.”

Citing a U.S./Mexico Trade Deficit of $50 Billion in 2014, and a $54 Billion Trade Deficit for the first 11 months of 2015, Trump has proposed reinstating tariffs on Mexican goods in violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump said, “When they say Mexico can’t pay for the wall, I say of course they can. We have a trade deficit with Mexico that’s unbelievably big. … It’s billions and billions of dollars — far more than what we’re talking about for the wall.”

His claim that “I will have Mexico pay for that wall,” would ostensibly be done by reinstating tariffs, otherwise known as “taxes” on goods “Hecho en Mexico.”

However, there is another potential manner in which he could “have Mexico pay for that wall,” which would be to Read the rest of this entry »

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“Too Big To Fail” Banks Get Bailout, Gave Customers The Shaft

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 19, 2016

Chalk One Up for the Working Man

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on December 18, 2016
Used with permission

On Thursday, I tried a case for a close friend on mine in the Jefferson County, Alabama District Court in Bessemer, Alabama. My friend is a hard working Bessemer resident and family man whose world was turned upside down when Citibank sold his credit card account to San Diego-based junk debt buyer, Midland Funding, LLC. He is one of millions of bank credit card customers each year whose accounts are bundled in loan pools and then sold to junk debt buyers without the customer’s knowledge.

Midland Funding is one of several mega junk debt buyers in America. This group of financial sharks buys unsecured bank debt for pennies on a dollar and then strong arms debtors who miss one or more of their monthly payments. Midland is part of a multi-billion industry of shady financial predators.

In my friend’s case, Citibank sold his account to Midland Funding. The balance on the account was $6,800. My friend paid his credit card monthly on a regular basis, but had an unexpected hiccup in his monthly cash flow a couple of years after he opened the account. As a result he failed to make a couple of his payments on time. When this occurred Citibank sold my friend’s account to Midland, and Midland eventually sued my friend. This is how my friend became my client.

Remember, Citibank had a similar hiccup during the Great Recession of 2008. The bank requested and received a total of $181.6 billion in federal bailout assistance to keep from collapsing. In fact, Citibank led the banking industry’s “welfare queens” by receiving more financial bailout assistance than any big bank in the U.S.

Citibank’s “Thank You” to the taxpayers like my client, whose tax dollars made the financial bailout possible for these big banks, was the low-down act of selling his credit card account to a shark like Midland Funding. The big banks were quick to take taxpayer-sponsored financial assistance, but slow to give taxpayers similar financial assistance in return.

[Editor’s Note: Alamerica Bank, which is Read the rest of this entry »

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Thoughts On Fidel Castro’s Death & American Foreign Policy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 26, 2016

Cuban President Raoul Castro – Fidel Castro’s younger brother – announced on Cuban television late last night (Friday, 25 November 2016) that Fidel had recently died, aged 90.

There are powerful lessons in Cuba for America.
Among them:

• When Corporations rule government, corruption inevitably ensues.

• American Foreign Policy has almost always favored Corporate Business Interests, especially in modern history.

• For well over 60 years, American Foreign Policy has largely been a disastrous failure.

The United States had dominated Cuba ever since the island nation became independent from Spain following the Spanish-American War in 1898, and Castro deeply distrusted America for that reason. Shortly after he assumed power in Cuba, at the invitation the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Fidel Castro made his only trip to the United States, and later met with then-Vice President Richard Nixon April 15, 1959 shortly before returning to Cuba. Eisenhower purposely avoided Castro, and specifically played golf that day to avoid any possible opportunity of meeting with him. Within four months of Castro’s trip to Washington D.C., the Eisenhower administration had drawn up a plan to overthrow him.

“In a manner certain to antagonize the Cuban people, we used the influence of our Government to advance the interests of and increase the profits of the private American companies, which dominated the island’s economy. At the beginning of 1959 U.S. companies owned about 40% of the Cuban sugar lands – almost all the cattle ranches – 90% of the mines and mineral concessions – 80% of the utilities – and practically all the oil industry – and supplied two-thirds of Cuba’s imports.”

Remarks of then-Senator John F. Kennedy at a Democratic Dinner, Cincinnati, Ohio, October 6, 1960, from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

Acknowledging that it was a “glaring failure of American foreign policy… that our own shortsighted policies helped make,” then-Senator John F. Kennedy, remarked at a Democratic Dinner, Cincinnati, Ohio, October 6, 1960 that Cuban regime change under Castro ended in the overthrow of the brutal, bloody, and despotic dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.”

Ironically, under Batista, the twice-president tyrannical military dictator of Cuba, the idyllic island nation was Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s true.

Folks don’t get mad because of falsehoods.

They get mad because of truth.

It’s true.

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

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

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Give To Those Who Ask

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, September 12, 2016

Some time ago, I had a change of heart on a rather simple matter,

and which was one of faith.

Since the summer of ’93 I had heard that Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

Executive Excess 2016: The Wall Street CEO Bonus Loophole

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

By Sarah Anderson and Sam Pizzigati, August 31, 2016

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

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

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

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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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On Executive Compensation

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Mosaic Scriptural principle (which is also referenced in the New Testament) that “you should not muzzle the ox that treads out the grain” is certainly a principle with and by which we should compensate people for their labor. However, there is little disagreement that the committees that set the rewards far too often overcompensate those whom are charged with organizational oversight.

There is something to be said for fair and just compensation according to the terms of a contract, and the wishes and desires of those whom issue them. 

Why then, is it that when Read the rest of this entry »

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A Better Argument For Alabama #ALpolitics To Legalize, Regulate & Tax Marijuana

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 27, 2016

Recently, on February 23, 2016, AL.com published an OpEd entitled “Would legalizing cannabis solve Alabama’s budget problems?” written by Reggie C. Pulliam, whom was identified as “a resident of Gulf Shores who has worked on public policy and criminal justice reform in Washington, D.C.”

I found his Op-Ed unconvincing because it’s poorly written.

The Colorado Department of Revenue reported that for December 2015 (State of Colorado Marijuana Taxes, Licenses, and Fees Transfers and Distribution December 2015 Sales Reported in January 2016), Total All Marijuana Taxes, Licenses, and Fees was $13,247,434.

The year-to-date increase was $4,689,293.

Based upon the December figure, on an annualized basis, that’s $158,969,208… which is not exactly chump change.
(See “Alabama Senate Approves Shifting $100 Million Away From Schools” published September 15, 2015.)

Linked here is the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Colorado Marijuana Tax Data.

Figuring into the state cost : benefit analysis & calculations also is a decrease in costs associated with Read the rest of this entry »

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What Underutilized Renewable Alabama Resource Could Catapult The State Economically?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 14, 2016

Soon, the Alabama state legislature will reconvene, and soon enough, they will – once again – be faced with enormous fiscal shortfalls.

And, once again as well, the Republican super-dominated Alabama state legislature will be reticent, reluctant, and recalcitrant to raise taxes… except upon those least capable of paying them. I refer, of course, to the impoverished, which – according to the United States Census Bureau – comprise nearly 20% of Alabama’s population. And with a population estimated at 4,849,377, that’s 901, 984 people, who annually, according to the research, Read the rest of this entry »

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Even With #ALpolitics @ALGOP & @GovernorBentley’s Iron-Fisted Control, Alabama STILL Thanks God for Mississippi

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fraud, waste, and abuse are rampant in Sweet Home, and it’s KILLING the state.

Cronyism and corruption remains alive and well, despite claims to the contrary as asserted by the GOP, which now rules Alabama with an Iron Fist.

If it could be said that states have personalities, Alabama’s would be bipolar, and schizophrenic. Reeling from fear – though they deny it – they continue to perpetuate and indeed, cultivate the very worst of the very worst in human behavior.

It’s not that Alabama or its people are bad, it’s that fear rules their hearts, and fearing that want and poverty will overtake them (ALERT! It already has.), they continue to elect those who pander to their fears. As a result, they get what they deserve.

It’s HIGH TIME – as was said in the Star Trek television series – “to BOLDLY go where no man has gone before!”

No one praises cowards, or cowardice. And yet, so many praise Alabama’s politicians, who are veritable Cowardly Lions.

Alabama has had – and continues to have Read the rest of this entry »

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