Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘money’

An Easy Way To Ensure Unbiased College Admissions

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Anonymity.

Make ALL applications anonymous.

It’s just… that… simple.

And, it’s EASILY facilitated!

Simply ID the applicant/prospective student by the first letter initials of their name, e.g., ABC, their birth date, e.g., 01022023, and the last four digits of their Social Security Number, or Alien Registration Number, e.g., 1234.

Thus, candidate “Iwannabe Funkybean Gobbledygook” would be IFG01022023-1234, or IFG010220231234, or IFG-01022023-1234, or similarly — even with last name first, GIF01022023-1234, or GIF010220231234, etc. Candidate “Al-Shaz Baraz el Hominy Jones-Smith” would be ASBHJS, ABHJS, or JSASBH, JSABH, or similarly.

It’s just ENTIRELY TOO EASY!

Our brethren in the UK have done so and they’ve also made job applications anonymous.

In a news article by Education Reporter Judith Burns published on the BBC News site 26 October 2015, she wrote that “Candidates’ names will be removed from university application forms from 2017,” and cited Prime Minister David Cameron’s OpEd, published in The Guardian Monday, 26 October 2015 02.00 EDT, which in part, read “We have already persuaded big employers to make job applications name-blind. Now universities will do the same.”

He wrote:

“At the Conservative party conference two weeks ago, I spoke about a young black woman who had to put a more white-sounding name on her CV before she started getting called for interviews. Such racism in 21st-century Britain, I said, was a disgrace, and I committed our party to ending discrimination and finishing the fight for real equality. The audience rose to their feet. It was a significant moment. And it provoked three reactions.

“The first was: Read the rest of this entry »

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Mitt Romney Was Correct

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Mitt Romney’s remark made at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines in 2011, that ‟Corporations are people, my friend,” was then, and remains even now, painfully accurate.

His explanation, however was an abysmal failure, and came nowhere close to explaining why ‟Corporations are people, my friend.”

Essentially, ‟Corporations are people, my friend,〞because their articles of incorporation state something to the effect that they can “… to wit, to do any thing a natural person could do…” That is known as “artificial personhood.”

Cornell University writes the following about artificial personhood, which may sometimes also be referred to as legal personhood, though the two are not always interchangeable — a Natural Person is also always Legal Person, but a Legal Person is not always a Natural Person — which is why there is a differentiation made with Natural Person, and the term “Artificial Person” is much more simple, and descriptive:

“An artificial person is also known as a juridical person; it has a legal name and has certain rights, protections, privileges, responsibilities, and liabilities in law, similar to those of a natural person. In other words, an artificial person is a non-human legal entity that is not a single natural person but an organization recognized by law as a fictitious person. In the United States, an artificial person usually refers to “any entities established under the law of the United States, any foreign country, or a state, province, territory, possession, commonwealth, or dependency of the United States or any foreign country, and as to which the government, state, province, territory, possession, commonwealth or dependency must maintain a record showing the entity to have been established.” Specifically, in a business sense, an artificial person is any form of business association and any other non-governmental legal organization, including a profitable or non-profitable corporation, partnership, limited liability company, association, trust, or unincorporated organization.”

The United States Supreme Court has reinforced that sense of personhood by and through their decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission which was issued January 2010, which supported the notion of artificial personhood, and granted additional rights to corporations, but few, if any, of the responsibilities.

Some rightfully call it the “money is free speech” ruling, and the primary problem with such a belief, ruling, or ideology, is that, if it is true that money is free speech (it is not), then the poor man has none, and the Constitution was written for all, equally, and so, in that sense, at the very least, the ruling violates the Equal Protection Clause, and the First Amendment.

The essence of the case is summarized as;

Holding: Political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections. While corporations or unions may not give money directly to campaigns, they may seek to persuade the voting public through other means, including ads, especially where these ads were not broadcast.

Judgment: Reversed, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy on January 21, 2010. in a 5-4 decision with an opinion written by Justice Kennedy. Justice Stevens dissented, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor.

There are other cases, of course, and this one didn’t just suddenly appear out of nowhere. There were other precedents which prepared the way for it, among which were:

But, to be absolutely certain, the problem can be traced back even further, to the Civil War era, when before that time, corporations were held to account by focusing upon the Chief Executive who was responsible, and accountable for all aspects of operations, and any failures fell squarely on their shoulders alone. Power and responsibility were natural complements of each other. After changes in laws were made, power and responsibility were separated, and power was concentrated at the top, but responsibility was diffused throughout the organization, so that no one person could be held to account — all the power, and all the perks that came along for the ride, but all the responsibilities were left at the train station.

https://i.insider.com/51812c23ecad04fe0a000001

That all came to a metaphorical head with the collapse of Enron, a once-high-flying Ponzi scheme bankruptcy of an energy company based in Houston, Texas which was founded and headed by the now-late Ken Lay (1942-2005). That firm’s collapse and subsequent bankruptcy was one of the largest instances of corporate fraud then to have occurred in America, and illustrated how the divorcement of power from responsibility was a formula for disaster. Healthsouth, another firm caught up in such a scheme, in which “cooking the books,” i.e., purposely, deceptively, and fraudulently making falsified entries in the firm’s accounting, most often for the purpose of driving up (artificially inflating) the company’s stock prices, which in turn benefited the executives, primarily, but others who may, or may not, have been somewhat privy to the acts… which, at that time, were not in and of themselves illegal, per se, though they were most certainly frowned upon by reputable accounting firms, Wall Street, and others.

Congress put a screeching halt to such abuses by writing legislation requiring the CEO to personally sign for the authenticity and accuracy of all corporate accounting and reports. And that was just a scratch up upon the surface of corporate greed and corruption, which remains prevalent today, more so now in the form of avarice (greed gone wild), than anything else.

Corporate avarice is also the single greatest problem in our nation’s economy, with one very minor example being the difference between the CEO’s pay, and their average employee’s pay — who, on average, made over 350 times the average employee’s pay. In 1989, the average differential was 61 to 1.

In fact, research performed by the Economic Policy Institute found that from 1978 to 2020, increases in CEO compensation far outstripped growth of either the Standard & Poor’s stock market index – 817%, exceeded by 6 times the increases in top income earners’ gains, and grew, on average, 1322%.

Meanwhile, in that same period, the typical employee’s annual compensation only grew a paltry 18%.

When it comes to Wall Street and BIG BUSINESS, it’s more for them, less for you.


‟Corporations are people, my friend.〞

by Mark LeVine, Director of the Program in Global Middle East Studies at UC Irvine
12 August 2011

Mitt Romney’s friendliness to corporations excuses them from bearing the responsibilities endowed upon them by the rights they are given as ‘persons’ under US law [AFP]

Thank God for Mitt Romney.

In a moment of candour he likely thought would win him much needed support from the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, the presidential candidate explained his thinking to a heckler – who asked why Read the rest of this entry »

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Herschel Walker campaign to Trumpublicans: Stop “deceptive fundraising” in Senate runoff

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Why is Herschel Walker surprised?

Seriously… WHY?

The GOP (Grand Old Party, a Republican moniker which emerged c.1854) is no more, and is not even a mere shadow of its former self. It is LITERALLY the FGOP — Formerly Grand Old Party, or OGOP, Once Grand Old Party.

Today, it’s the POT (Party Of Trump) — a natural-born liar, swindler, cheater, chiseler, defrauder, narcissistic, racist, xenophobic, duplicitous, unpatriotic, treasonously treacherous traitor who will LITERALLY DO ANYTHING to get what he wants, everyone and everything else be damned — and his servile sycophantic boot-licking, pablum-puking puerile punks.

They’re ALL ass-kissers — as POS45 (Piece Of Shit 45) described his subservient anointed Ohio Senate candidate J.D.Vance while campaigning with him September 17, 2022 saying, J.D. is kissing my ass he wants my support so bad — and mendaciously monolithic morons.

The last genuine Republican may have very well been the now-late Arizona Senator John McCain who so despised POS45 that, while in his last days on Earth, still in office and dying from glioblastoma, a brain cancer that typically kills its victims within 16 months +/-, that he gave specific orders FORBIDDING PO45 from attending his funeral.

So, for Herschel Walker, that poor fool-as-a-tool used by POS45 and the OGOP — a Black man, at that — it’s just another example of how the worthless scum who fly that elephantine banner treat Americans.

The “I love the poorly-educated” voters who cast their ballots for anything with the letter “R” beside their name (which instead ought to be a “T”), are unthinking “Concrete Block Republicans” who would literally vote for a concrete block instead of anyone in any other party, demonstrating that they’re vacuous prattling imbeciles who neither think, nor attempt to think, and very much vote for anything that flies that modern political jolly roger.

Moreover, it’s ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that PO45 will be VERY MUCH trying to buy his way back into the White House, and continues demonstrating his deliberately deceptive, swindling, chiseling, cheating ways.

It’s just pure putrid MAGA effluvium on the Trump Dump garbage scow.


Herschel Walker’s  campaign to Republicans:
Stop〝deceptive fundraising〞in
Georgia U.S. Senate runoff

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2022-election/walker-calls-gop-deceptive-fundraising-georgia-race-rcna57136
November 14, 2022, 1814 CST
By Marc Caputo

Republican politicians and associated committees are sending out desperate fundraising emails begging the GOP faithful to help save America by getting behind Herschel Walker in his Dec. 6 runoff against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia.

But what’s not immediately clear to recipients is how little of that money is going to Walker’s campaign: just a dime for every dollar given by small donors.

Walker’s campaign, which has trailed Warnock’s in fundraising throughout the election, is asking fellow Republicans to stop their fundraising practices — or at least to start sharing more with the candidate.

Herschel Walker during his Unite Georgia Bus Stop campaign rally in Norcross, GA, September 9, 2022.
Photo by Demetrius Freeman / The WaPo

“We need everyone focused onwinning the Georgia Senate race, and deceptive fundraising tactics by teams that just won their races are siphoning money away from Georgia,” said Walker’s campaign manager Scott Paradise on Monday.

“This is the last fight of 2022, and every dollar will help,” Paradise said. “The companies and consultants raising money off this need to cut it out.”

The campaign said it first noticed the problem Saturday when Read the rest of this entry »

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About Joe “Maserati” Manchin’s Yacht

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Soft-pedaling journos who suck up to their subjects (the folks about whom they regularly write), have changed their tone on Joe “Maserati” Manchin III’s yacht, and have taken to calling it a “houseboat.”

That’s just wrong — just plain wrong — on so many levels, and you’re about to understand why.

First, some websites assert that the term “yacht” is superfluous, or supererogatory, that the term is ambiguous, and open to interpretation.

WV Senator Joe “Maserati” Manchin III on his yacht “Almost Heaven” speaks to protesters in kayaks below. The vessel’s name, and its hailing port (home port) are clearly visible.

I demur.

That is most certainly NOT the case.

The United States Coast Guard establishes guidelines for vessels, which are Federal laws and regulations that vessel owners MUST follow, one of which is that if a vessel exceeds a certain length from stem to stern (front to back) it must be registered with the USCG. As well, there is an organization — the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) — that similarly ranks and characterizes vessels, which establishes standards for vessel construction, as well as the standards set by the American Boats & Yacht Council (ABYC).

If a vessel is longer than 26 feet, it MUST be registered with the United States Coast Guard. That is the law. If under 26 feet long, it may, or may not, be required to registered with the USCG, depending on the state or locality of the owner’s residence (home port). In almost every state, boats under 26 feet in length must bear a registration number on the exterior of the hull, typically toward the bow, whereas with USCG-registered vessels, a vessel’s name and hailing port must be marked together on some clearly visible exterior part of the hull. A “hailing port” is the location from which the vessel is typically harbored (parked). In the case of Joe “Maserati” Manchin’s yacht, it’s named “Almost Heaven,” and is from Charleston, WV. When the yacht was previously named “JENNIFER ANNE,” its Hailing Port was ANNAPOLIS, MD.

“Almost Heaven” was formerly owned David and Jennifer DeLancey, who then named the vessel “Jennifer Ann.” An article about the Jennifer Ann was written by Ken Ringle, April 25, 2004 and published in the Washington Post, which described the vessel.

“Today the DeLanceys live afloat on the Jennifer Ann. You could call it a houseboat, but that would be like calling Air Force One a plane. Within the sunny, air-conditioned confines of the custom-built, 65-by-20-foot, three-story steel hull, David has packaged more space and amenities than most apartments and condominiums, and many houses. The 1,500 square feet of interior living space embrace 3 1/2 bedrooms (including a 14-by-20-foot master suite), 3 1/2 bathrooms, and a bright and open living/dining area (complete with a granite dining table) where the DeLanceys have comfortably entertained as many as 50 people to Read the rest of this entry »

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Laws That Don’t Apply To Wealthy People

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Benjamin felt a nose nuzzling at his shoulder. He looked round. It was Clover. Her old eyes looked dimmer than ever. Without saying anything, she tugged gently at his mane and led him round to the end of the big barn, where the Seven Commandments were written. For a minute or two they stood gazing at the tatted wall with its white lettering.

“My sight is failing,” she said finally. “Even when I was young I could not have read what was written there. But it appears to me that that wall looks different. Are the Seven Commandments the same as they used to be, Benjamin?”

For once Benjamin consented to break his rule, and he read out to her what was written on the wall. There was nothing there now except a single Commandment. It ran:

ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

After that it did not seem strange when next day the pigs who were supervising the work of the farm all carried whips in their trotters. It did not seem strange to learn that the pigs had bought themselves a wireless set, were arranging to install a telephone, and had taken out subscriptions to John Bull, TitBits, and the Daily Mirror. It did not seem strange when Napoleon was seen strolling in the farmhouse garden with a pipe in his mouth-no, not even when the pigs took Mr. Jones’s clothes out of the wardrobes and put them on, Napoleon himself appearing in a black coat, ratcatcher breeches, and leather leggings, while his favourite sow appeared in the watered silk dress which Mrs. Jones had been used to wear on Sundays.
— excerpt from Animal Farm (1945), chapter X, George Orwell’s (1903-1950) novel

John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 2005 Official Portrait

Today, Tuesday, November 1, 2022, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary order that Read the rest of this entry »

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A Story of American National Interests… as told by a Piece of Bacon

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 1, 2022

THIS! is honest to goodness COUNTRY BACON !!😋

THIS! is honest-to-goodness COUNTRY BACON!!😋

NONE of that mass-produced, factory-farmed, Made-in-China, Made-for-China gobbledygook.

This does NOT need refrigeration!

And, these pieces are also cooked, of course.

Oh! And you KNOW, that since 2013, Smithfield Foods, in Smithfield, VA, a formerly-American-based company, has been OWNED BY THE COMMUNIST CHINESE “Shuanghui Group” (now known as “WH Group” because it sounds more “American,” you know) because Smithfield’s Wall$teet corporate owners sold their American birthright for a paltry bowl of porridge — a mere US$4.72B.

You DO recall that China is a Communist nation, don’t you?

WH Group’s “global headquarters is strategically located in Hong Kong, with regional headquarters in China and the U.S.,” while the “Headquarters Shuanghui Development in Luohe, Henan Province,” China, and WH Group’s U.S. Headquarters of their Smithfield Foods division is in Smithfield, Virginia.

WH Group is also one of the LARGEST FOREIGN OWNERS of American farmland, with 146,000 acres, and that separate sale (as part of Smithfield’s holdings) was worth US$500M, according to the USDA.

Put another way, 146,000 acres is 228.1252 square miles… that’s nearly 20% (18.79% exactly) of the entire state of Read the rest of this entry »

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Elon Musk, Paul Ryan, and Bernie Marcus walk into a bar…

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 16, 2022

Headlines…

Home Depot Co-Founder Bernie Marcus on President Biden: “What the hell does he know about economics?”
by Brian Sozzi, Anchor, Editor-at-Large
Friday, October 14, 2022 at 12:11 PM

Paul Ryan Makes Bold Prediction About Trump And MAGA Lovers Won’t Like It
by Ron Dicker
Friday, October 14, 2022 at 7:14 AM

Musk: I can’t keep paying for Ukraine’s internet
Reuters News Agency
Friday, October 14, 2022 at 10:03 AM

Journalism these days has sunk to new lows.

Much of what passes for “news” these days very well could have been ripped from Read the rest of this entry »

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The stock market retracted 1% yesterday and THE SKY IS FALLING!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, September 24, 2022

 The way some of those clowns write, one would think the sock… er, stock market had crashed, that Mount Vesuvius had become active once again, and that nuclear war had broken out all over.
 
This is just so MUCH BULLSHIT. (Or instead, perhaps that should that be bullshittery?)
 
I mean, seriously… a 1% and a 1.6% decline?
 
Are you kidding me!?!
 
That’s a “plunge”?

It’d be like dipping the very tip of your little finger in a finger bowl moistened with a few drops of water and then claiming that you went swimming in the Pacific Ocean. 
 
If anyone went to any store anywhere and saw a sign reading “HUGE SALE! Up to 1.6% off EVERYTHING!” they’d laugh the store to shame for promoting such an asininely ludicrous bit of blatantly fraudulent puffery and nonsense.
 
The stock market is that store.

And yet, Read the rest of this entry »

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Grocery Co$t$ to be PERMANENTLY HIGH because of Chinese-owned $mithfield Food$

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 28, 2022

史密斯菲尔德食品

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.

Chinese translated as “Smithfield Food”

Amidst the cacophony of overall price inflation in fuel, food, and other items, there are numerous underlying and related causes.

There are not merely one, two, or even three contributing problems to this lingering miasma, and rather, like a line of dominoes tumbling, one after another, significantly increased prices in consumer goods are taking a toll on Americans, whose incomes — unlike those of CEOs, and other high-level corporate executives — have not risen in response.

Consider food.

The United States Department of Agriculture found national slaughter capacity reductions [i.e., the CLOSING of abattoirs/processors/slaughterhouses] in pork, and cattle, of 35-40%, and 30-40%, respectively, which have translated to hyper-inflated costs to consumers.


NOTE: Big Oil has done similarly. They’ve closed their oil refineries & capped wells, thereby creating a false shortage, and simultaneously INCREASED prices, resulting in record profits not seen since the 1950’s.

THAT is why fuel prices are sky high.

There is NO OTHER REASON.

The Energy Information Administration has a page dedicated to Refinery Utilization and Capacity in the United States which shows that 679 oil refineries were closed and not utilized in 2021 — the GREATEST number ever, since 1985.

For more detailed information, see this entry: https://warmsouthernbreeze.wordpress.com/2022/06/28/energy-information-administration-data-shows-how-big-oil-is-abusing-consumers/


But business practices, related closures and production slowdowns in abattoirs and processing facilities have their roots elsewhere in time, and policy.

On June 10th, 2022, the communist Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods announced the following:

Smithfield Foods, Inc. today announced that it will cease all harvest and processing operations in Vernon, California in early 2023 and, at the same time, align its hog production system by reducing its sow herd in its Western region. The company will decrease its sow herd in Utah and is exploring strategic options to exit its farms in Arizona and California. Smithfield harvests only company-owned hogs in Vernon. Smithfield will service customers in California with its Farmer John brand and other brands and products from existing facilities in the Midwest.

(see: https://www.smithfieldfoods.com/press-room/2022-06-10-Smithfield-Foods-to-Close-Vernon%2c-CA-Facility-Reduce-Hog-Production-in-Western-Region/)

• A little less than a year ago, in early July 2021, Smithfield settled (for $83M) a Class Action Federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota accusing it of price-fixing, and Read the rest of this entry »

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Energy Information Administration data shows HOW BIG OIL is ABUSING CONSUMERS.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The
EXCLUSIVE REASON
WHY GAS PRICES ARE HIGH
is because
OIL COMPANIES HAVE CLOSED REFINERIES
&
REDUCED REFINERY INPUTS.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s website (https://www.eia.gov/) has a page dedicated to “Refinery Utilization and Capacity” (https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pnp_unc_dcu_nus_a.htm) which shows that, NOT ONLY have BIG OIL companies CLOSED REFINERIES, they have also DECREASED OIL PRODUCTION (Gross Inputs to Refineries) — BOTH which have contributed EXCLUSIVELY to hyper-inflated gas prices, and bank-busting profits for BIG OIL & their stockholders.

In other words, they’ve also “capped oil wells.”

One way to INCREASE PROFITS is to PRICE GOUGE, another is to MANIPULATE THE MARKET.

BIG OIL companies are doing BOTH.

Refineries — which are owned by oil companies — have been CLOSED BY THE OIL COMPANIES, despite making bank-busting RECORD PROFITS. Read the rest of this entry »

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Looking at Russia and Criticizing America -or- Through the Looking-Glass… Albeit, Darkly

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, June 17, 2022

“Russia is scouring the country for manpower and weapons, including old tanks in the Far East, after using up much of its military capacity since invading Ukraine”

see: https://twitter.com/Quicktake/status/1536830368254410756

see also: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-14/russia-turns-to-old-tanks-as-it-burns-through-weapons-in-ukraine


In the coming months & years, Russia will be verging on the brink of utter & thorough economic collapse. Political collapse is also all but certain, for NO NATION — including the United States — can continually sustain war/armed conflict efforts without some sort of price which they’ll pay — in one way, or another.

For us, since 2001 until this administration, in the Middle East (Afghanistan, then Iraq), we have opted to build weapons of war, over repairing & rebuilding our internal infrastructure here at home. We have quite literally “beat our ploughshares into swords, and our pruning hooks into spears.”

We have opted to subsidize the makers & builders of bombs, bullets & matériels of death, over life-giving, life-sustaining healthcare & education “to the least of these, my brethren.”

Grim Reaper statue, Cathedral of Trier, Trier, Germany

We have paid the piper, because we CHOSE to dance to the merry macabre tune of death, rather than choosing LIFE for those who are breathing, and food for the living.

We have given to the rich, and demanded from the poor, we have turned upside down & perverted the Constitution by saying “corporations are people, my friend,” and given power to them, while robbing it from The People, all while allowing the coarse grit of wealth to abrade the thin veneer of “justice” by Read the rest of this entry »

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Let’s Talk Taxes!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 30, 2022

We have a crazy economy, for sure.

And, it seems to be working best, and most, for the über-wealthy, the out-of-touch-with-reality “multi-billionaire class” type folks, and their corporations. You know… the ones who pay little-to-no income taxes upon their vast wealth.

Those are the ones who have no idea what a gallon of milk costs, what diapers cost, what childcare costs, and who, instead of going to Disneyland, Dollywood, or down the road for vacation, dish out million$ from their morbid exce$$ to fly to outer $pace ju$t for fun, or buy boats so big that they won’t fit under a bridge on an inland waterway where they’re built so they get the government to temporarily dismantle the historical landmark just to sail through it, etc.

We’re talking about folks like Jeff Bezos and his Amazon Corporation, Elon Musk and his Tesla/SpaceX corporations, the so-called “Oracle of Omaha” CEO of holding company Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. Warren Buffett, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google co-founders Larry Page & Sergey Brin, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and Bloomberg founder/owner Michael Bloomberg, all who round out the Top 10 Wealthiest People in America.

These are men who are individually, each worth more than the entire GDP of Iraq — U.S.$201,472,000,000 — and 163 other nations in the world.

And combined, they’re worth U.S.$1,346,600,000,000 — between the GDPs of Spain (U.S.$1,439,958,000,000) & Mexico (U.S.$1,285,518,000,000), ranked 14th & 15th, respectively, internationally, of 216 nations.

According to Forbes, their wealth is practically unimaginable, which “membership” in the Top 400 grouping now requires a minimum net worth of $2.9 billion, up $800 million from a year ago.

As well, the vast majority of them are greedy, also according to Forbes, which wrote,

“The 400 wealthiest Americans saw their collective fortune increase 40% over the last year,
to $4.5 trillion.

What hasn’t increased?

Their generosity.

The number of Forbes 400 members who gave away more than 20% of their net worth since last year’s list,
dropped from 10 to 8,
while those who gave away less than 1% of their wealth went from 127 to 156.”

Imagine that, eh?

I got mine, good luck getting yours.

They’re probably cheapskate tippers, as well. Not at all like the anonymous folks who leave a $1000 tip for a $25 meal, or skinflints who chisel the pizza delivery driver.

What an attitude, eh?

But, let’s talk about income taxes, which are not paid by such folks, who craftily, and legally — yes, legally — hide their money from the tax man through various mechanisms, some of which frankly, are abusive, such as Read the rest of this entry »

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Gas prices got you feeling pinched?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 18, 2022

Here’s everything that Congress has done about the matter.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Yeah.

Bupkis.

Nada.

Isn’t that what Congress specializes in doing — NOTHING!?

But, in all fairness… Congress (the House) did pass legislation about hair styles.

That’s NOT a joke.

Or, is it?

H.R.2116 – CROWN Act of 2021 — “An act To prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s texture or style of hair.” — was referred to the Committees for Judiciary; Education and Labor; Budget. In a roll call vote held on 03/18/2022, the act was Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 235 – 189 (Roll no. 82).

And to compound problems, the Mass Media hasn’t done a good of their job of reporting on what exactly HAS been done… as in what bills have been written, and sent to committee. And there have been some, with full information — including the text of the bills — about which are linked herein to the Congress.gov website.

Of course, Republicans have little of any substance to offer except for “tax cuts,” which is their standard tune, and their answer to all of life’s problems.

Yeah.

But, do you ever get the feeling that you’re being manipulated by the Mass Media?

That’s because YOU ARE.

Is there anything else it could be called when full information and details of bills that could help We The People are purposely omitted from being reported upon?


In an article headlined “Gas prices are near record highs. A fuel tax holiday could give consumers some relief.” NPR reported today (Friday, 18 March 2022) that “the Georgia House last week approved a bill to suspend the state’s 28.7 cents a gallon motor fuel tax through the end of May.”

Given that the Energy Information Administration shows that taxes account for only about 15% of the price of gasoline and diesel fuel, a so-called “tax holiday” would hardly provide any substantial relief, if any at all.

Jeff Davis, a Senior Fellow with the Eno Center for Transportation — a Washington, D.C.-based non-partisan think tank founded in 1921 by traffic safety pioneer William Eno that examines transportation issues across modes and levels of the federal-state-local government chain — is also the Editor of the Eno Transportation Weekly, and said that cutting the federal gas tax really won’t save drivers much money.

“Well, you know, we’re paying Read the rest of this entry »

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All The News That Fits: What you’re not being told about Russia’s Ukraine invasion

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 10, 2022

New York Times front page 09 March 2022

“The Gray Lady,” aka The New York Times, has for years had a slogan which reads “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” Created in 1897 by Adolph S. Ochs (1858-1935), The New York Times owner who first owned the Chattanooga Times (now Chattanooga Times Free Press), the motto was meant to express the idea that the paper’s intention is to write the news impartially, and still appears on the paper’s masthead to this day.

In the era of Ochs’ ownership of the NYT, newspapers were openly partisan, and through his slogan, sought to instill a sense of confidence in the reading audience, and by his careful management, the paper increased its readership from 9,000 as a struggling publication when he purchased it in 1896, to 780,000 by 1921, and had a staff of 1885. The 1922 Encyclopædia Britannica wrote of the paper that, “By its fairness in the presentation of news, editorial moderation and ample foreign service, it secured a high place in American journalism, becoming widely read and influential throughout the country.”

Today, with the advent of instant global electronic communications, and changes in various laws mostly regulatory of ownership, the journalism landscape has changed drastically, some say for the better, while yet others demur. But regardless one’s opinion on such matters, suffice it to say that the paper’s detractors have slightly varied the motto thusly:

All the News that Fits.

One thing’s for certain, amid the democratization of news, and a broadened, liberalized monetary business landscape, and the cheapening of communications to be as a mere merchandised product, the profit motive remains strong for all journalists and news outlets, traditional, or modern. And effectively, what that means is sponsorship, and mentioning the sponsor’s name, at the least, and at the most, promoting their products, over other brands. So in other words, by virtue of that fact, it could hardly be considered “non-partisan,” partisanship being seen or perceived as partiality, instead of independence. And there’s certainly no limit to partisanship online, in print, or broadcast.

Such commodification can be seen in some newspapers by the presence of advertising on the FRONT PAGE, which historically, had NEVER been done… until now. It’s purely a profit motive, first for the paper, which can, and does, sell that space for MUCH, MUCH MORE than similarly-sized space inside the paper, and secondly, for the advertiser, who gets Front-and-Center “in your face” attention from readers.

But as noted in the Tweet above, what constitutes journalistic independence varies from nation-to-nation, and organization-to-organization, though underlying it all, hopefully, there resides adherence to a uniform standard of high ethical, and professional, practice. Effectively, what that means is that The New York Times is vastly different from The National Enquirer, London’s Daily Mail, or The Sydney Morning Herald of Australia.

American reporting on the still-ongoing matter of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has, and continues to consist primarily of, prognosticating about what Russia will do, what Russia has done, what Russia could do, what Russia ought to do, and similarly opining on the psychological reasons/justifications for why Putin wants Ukraine. In stark contrast, “foreign” news agencies have focused much more on the Ukrainian people, what they’re doing, how they’re surviving, how their lives have changed, and the accomplishments of the Ukrainian military against the Russian invaders.

Such a reversal position and role is astounding, considering United States’ long history with Russia, even before it fell to Communism to become a Soviet state, and the subsequent failure of communism and the nation’s transformation into a criminal oligarchy by its corrupted government officials.

Arguably, the nation has long been a criminal state, with the presence of an elite criminal sect known as Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Russian Oil Should Be Sold Worldwide

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

I’ve done a 180º on the matter of selling Russian Crude Oil & Natural Gas (NatGas), and placing economic sanctions upon that nation.

I think that President Biden (POTUS BIDEN) should even consider INCREASING importation of those Russian fossil fuels.

Further, I think that we should be pursuing “business as usual” within Russia.

Matter of fact, so should the peace-loving world, particularly and especially all European nations.

Why?

Number one, embargoes, economic sanctions and other physically non-violent means are Read the rest of this entry »

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Why is America Subsidizing Communism?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 5, 2022

You know, the irony of the Opioid Epidemic is that folks are seeking relief from pain… pain which is psycho-social, emotional, not related to disease, injury, or surgery. But pain, nonetheless.

And what might the cause of that pain be?

Joblessness, homelessness, hopelessness.

Why don’t they have a job?

Ask Congress.

They were the ones who sent their jobs overseas in the misguided notion that it’d help our nation’s economy.

Yeah.

Right.

And there’s a Santa Claus, too — and an Easter Bunny, and a Tooth Fairy.

The Sackler family and other pharmaceutical makers were only capitalizing upon human tragedy by peddling pain relief.

And oddly, that’s what was needed… in addition to a job.

But you can’t sue Congress.

However… you CAN vote the bastards out of office — and should.

Every goddamn one of ’em.

ALL Republicans, ALL Democrats, ALL Independents.

ALL OF THEM.

And then, establish Term Limits for Congress; 20 years combined elected Federal service ought to be enough for anyone. That’d be 10, 2-year terms in the House, or 3, 6-year terms in the Senate (18) plus 1, 2-year term in the House, or any combination thereof. Remember when Newt Gingrich promised that with his “Contract on America”? Promises, promises. He also cheated on his wife, and asked her to sign divorce papers while she was on her near-death bed following cancer surgery. She survived. He remarried. Divorced his 2nd wife. He’s now on the 3rd one. Funny thing, too… Gingrich led the cavalry against then-POTUS CLINTON when he was accused of getting a blow job from Monica Lewinsky in the oral… er, Oval Office.

Yeah. What a guy, eh?

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

It was on September 4, 2009 when Read the rest of this entry »

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Should You Panic? You’re Being Stalked Online… Legally.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Polly want a cracker?

How about a cookie, instead?

And to make it even better, we’ll make it a STALKING COOKIE!

Yeah… “stalking” as in “we’re watching EVERYTHING YOU DO ONLINE — where you came from, how long you stay, when you arrive, when you leave, what you click on, hover over, move around upon, your age, sex, where you live, your income, your education level,

• your employer, how long you’ve been there, your kids, their ages, the schools they attend, where you worship if you do, what car you drive, how far you drive,

• what size clothing you wear, your political identity, voting proclivities, what you eat, where you shop for groceries,

• who your doctor is, what conditions you’re being treated for, with what medications, how regularly you take your meds, what your allergies are,

• what teevee shows you watch, who your ISP is, how long you’ve been with them, your cell phone number & provider,

• how much your utility bill was last month, what you read, what you subscribe to, what type computer you use, where you use it, what your email address is, how much email you get,

• how many phone calls you get, how long your conversations are, how many and to whom you send/receive text messages, how many pets you have, their ages, sexes, and breeds, what and how often you feed them, who their veterinarian is,

• how much money is in your bank accounts, how much your mortgage is, and for how long, how many cars you’ve ever owned, how much you travel and where,

• your hair and eye color, your parents’ names, their addresses, birthdates, ages, when and where they and you were born, how many moving citations and/or parking tickets you and they have ever had, who your neighbors are, their and your skin color,

• when and if you menstruate, how often and with whom you have sex, if you use a condom, use any other form of birth control… you get the idea.

Frankly, NONE of that should be public knowledge, but, it is. And, it ALL can be bought for a price.

And YOU ARE THE COMMODITY bought, sold, and traded.

And so, would it surprise you to know that ALL that information cited above — AND MORE — is ALL available to be purchased?

In the EU, their citizens have PRIVACY LAWS that protect them from being stalked by online companies.

But not in the USA.

Again, whyzat?

Congress.

In the USA, NO ONE has any “right” to their own intellectual property, specifically, that means ANY, EVERY, and ALL information about you: YOU, as a human being, what your habits are, your daily routine, your purchases, your income, your medical diagnoses, your doctors, medicines, who you have sex with, when, how, if you use birth control, or not, what animals you own, how much you make & pay taxes, how often you drive, if you do, where you go, how far on average you drive on a daily basis, what size clothes you wear, who your friends & family are, what your genetic information is, and the list just goes on, and on, and on, and on from there.

Yes… YOU are a commodity – an intellectual SLAVE – to be bought, sold, and traded. And what’s worse, ANYONE can obtain that information. ANYONE. All they have to do is… PURCHASE IT.

That’s NOT a joke.

Just think of it this way:

STALKING.

It’s happening, you just don’t know it.

And THAT’s the whole point.

You are, in essence, an electronic slave, the intellectual property of others, not your self. For if you were your own property, you would Read the rest of this entry »

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Let’s Talk About AVOCADOS! (Confronting lies, ignorance, and fear in modern journalism.)

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

Yesterday, I happened upon a story (a poorly written, and unconvincing one, at that — and there are several) about a complaint that someone, or some group, was making to so-called “chefs,” who in response were removing the avocado from their menus, ostensibly because of some alleged character flaw characterized as “un-sustainability.”

Avocados are a nutrient dense, heart-healthy food, production of which is SUSTAINABLE, and lucrative, for this, and other nation’s economies… contrary to what the goddamn ignoramuses tell you. There are PLENTY of academically, statistically, economically, and scientifically validated facts about avocados in this entry, ALL from HIGHLY REPUTABLE sources which almost every one DIRECTLY CONTRADICT the goddamn lies and BULLSHIT that so-called “journalists” write, and hope to get you to believe.

What a crock!

“Sustainability” my ass!

You wanna’ know what’s “unsustainable”?

Life without water. Life without food.

Besides… the fucking avocados are Hecho en Mexico.

Yeah, you stupid motherfuckers… Mexico produces the lion’s share of the world’s avocados, followed by Dominican Republic, Peru, Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, Brazil, Haiti, Chile, and Israel.

NOT ‘Murka.

A business intelligence report on the global avocado market wrote this, in part, about the fruit:

“Avocados contain vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, including 25 essential nutrients. It also contains phytochemicals, like beta-sitosterol and antioxidants, like lycopene and beta-carotene. The essential nutrients are increasing the demand for the fruit, globally, and therefore acts as a major driving force behind the growth of the avocado market. The demand for avocados is increasing globally due to their health benefits as it increases vision, prevents heart-related diseases, and helps in improving digestion. The increased demand across the globe has resulted in increased production. According to FAOSTAT, avocado production was 5.7 million metric ton in 2016, which has increased by 12.7% and reached 7.1 million metric ton in 2019.”

FAOSTAT is the Statistics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

So… that’s not enough facts, figures, and statistics about avocados?

You’re about to get more than you can shake a stick at. So, sit tight, and hold onto your hat. We’re about to go on a whirlwind ride!

Here are more facts, figures, and statistics about avocados, from NASS, 2020 (National Agricultural Statistics Service — i.e., your tax dollars at work):

In 2020 the United States produced 206,610 tons of avocados. That same year, economic value of U.S. avocado production was $426 million. California’s 2020 avocado production value was $411,720,000, with 47,300 acres in production, which yielded 3.98 TONS / ACRE.

For comparison, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product in Q3 2021 was $23.173496 TRILLION. California’s avocado production DOES NOT even make it into the state’s Top 10 most valuable agriculture products, which are:

  • Dairy Products, Milk — $7.47 billion
  • Almonds — $5.62 billion
  • Grapes — 4.48 billion
  • Pistachios — $2.87 billion
  • Cattle and Calves — $2.74 billion
  • Lettuce — $2.28 billion
  • Strawberries — $1.99 billion
  • Tomatoes — $1.20 billion
  • Floriculture — $967 million
  • Walnuts — $958 million

In California, avocados are the 16th most valuable crop. Tomatoes, strawberries, hay, oranges, rice, tangerines, almonds, pistachios, broccoli, and lettuce all outpace the state’s avocado production value.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis found that in Q2 2021, the value of California’s Gross Domestic Product was $3,290,170 million ($3.29 TRILLION), and accounted for 14.5% of U.S. GDP.

In the U.S., a total of 52,720 acres were in stable avocado production. Certain varieties, such as the Hass, have a tendency to bear well only in alternate years. That’s a 50% reduction biennially. How would you like it if your income fluctuated like that?

In the past decade, U.S. avocado consumption the U.S. has doubled, and is now about Read the rest of this entry »

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Facebook is now Dead

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, October 30, 2021

FACEBOOK is now Dead.

Long live Facebook!

The company formerly known as “Facebook,” whose CEO/Chairman of the Board is Mark Zuckerberg – whom is Jewish – amidst increasingly withering criticism of longstanding unscrupulous, unAmerican, and unethical activity by the company, has recently announced that he has unilaterally decided to change the company’s name to “Meta.”

The perverse irony of that matter, is that the English word “meta,” as spoken, is the Hebrew word for “dead.”

The Hebrew word מֵ֣ת (mêṯ) is a verb, in the perfect, third person tense, and is the singular of מוּת (muth) meaning “to die,” or “to kill.”

That’s entirely appropriate, of course, considering that the company has conducted internal research which has conclusively proven that Facebook’s secret algorithms have caused suicides in pre-teens, especially little girls.

https://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-knows-data-instagram-eating-disorders-suicidal-thoughts-whistleblower-2021-10

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook executive and data scientist for the social media behemoth, testified October 5, 2021 before the United States Senate Commerce Committee’s Sub-Committee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, and stated in part that, Read the rest of this entry »

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America’s Military Budget Must Be Halved… AT LEAST

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 30, 2021

It is NOT an “unpatriotic” matter to assert, or claim, that America’s military budget is out of control. Numerous boondoggles over the past several years – most notably the F-35 program, now recognized as an untenably disastrous failure – have proven as much.

Former WWII Supreme Allied Commander, 5-star General, and 2-term Republican President, Dwight David Eisenhower, warned in his January 17, 1961 Farewell Address that,

“We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United State corporations.

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

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

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

• See: “The US Air Force Quietly Admits the F-35 Is a Failure“; By Joel Hruska, February 25, 2021 at 8:38 am
• See also: “The U.S. Air Force Just Admitted The F-35 Stealth Fighter Has Failed“; By David Axe, February 23, 2021, 08:00am EST
• See also: “What Went Wrong with the F-35, Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter?“; By Michael P. Hughes, Scientific American, The Conversation US, June 14, 2017
• See also: “This Country Is Spending $1.7 Trillion on Planes That Don’t Work“; By Charles P. Pierce, February 25, 2021
• See also: “F-35 Failure: The Air Force Wants a Different Replacement for Its Aging F-16 Jet Fighters“; By Mark Episkopos, February 25, 2021
• See also: “Israel Is Hiding That Its State-Of-Art F-35 Warplane Was Hit By Syrian S-200 Missile – Reports“; SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence, 2017-10-17T 09:56:39+00:00
• See also: “The F-35 tells everything that’s broken in the Pentagon“; By Dr. Sean McFate, PhD, 03/11/21 01:00 PM EST
• See also: “The sad saga of the F-35: Too big to fail, too expensive to fly“; By Jamie McIntyre, Senior Writer, March 18, 2021 11:00 PM

In conjunction with that measure, of slashing the budget for the Department of Defense, we must also require a period of national service from our young people – two, or three, years of mandatory service after high school graduation is NOT too much to expect from, or ask of them in return for the blessings of liberty for ourselves, and our posterity. Plus, it would make Congress and the President think long and hard – twice – before so freely sending their children into harm’s way.

The money saved should be redirected toward other, much more needful things at home, such as Read the rest of this entry »

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Understanding Morons

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 29, 2021

NOTE:

Readers of this blog are free to respond to anything they read herein, or elsewhere, and little-to-no effort has ever been made, nor will be made, to restrain their expressions, nor to prohibit, or “censor” their ideas. Further, email addresses stay within the confines of this blog, exclusively, and are NEVER sold, bartered, traded, given away, or divulged in any manner or form whatsoever – nor have they ever been. We do not employ the practices of FaceBook/Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter/Jack Dorsey, or other social media maven/multi-billionaires which make a fast buck off selling their readers private information, or online habits – as do most other corporate/commercial sites, Internet Service Providers, including Alphabet, Inc., parent firm of Google/YouTube, etc., and its founders Larry Page, and Sergey Brin.


Recently, a reader responded to an entry about Afghanistan, writing in part, that, “Calling them “morons” for not being educated on this in a country that is still partly stuck in the stone age seems a tad bit inappropriate.”

The reader’s thoughts were duly noted, and had some bearing upon a portion of the entry – the introduction. That individual could have written a recipe for spongecake in response, and it likely would have been published. But, a thoughtful, intelligent, cogent, somewhat compelling, and expansive argument was made in response to the commentary – which is more than can be said for some other sites, where diatribes, thoughtless, mindless jibber-jabbering, and provocative commentary is sad par for the course.

But it was the word “moron” that aroused my curiosity, so to be certain, I sought to investigate further the origin, derivation and historical use of the word – its etymology. Here’s what I found about the word “moron” on the EtymologyOnline website:

moron (n.)

1910, medical Latin, “one of the highest class of feeble-minded persons,” from Greek (Attic) mōron, neuter of mōros “foolish, dull, sluggish, stupid,” a word of uncertain origin. The former connection with Sanskrit murah “idiotic” (see moratorium) is in doubt. Latin morus “foolish” is a loan-word from Greek.

Adopted by the American Association for the Study of the Feeble-minded with a technical definition “adult with a mental age between 8 and 12;” used as an insult since 1922 and subsequently dropped from technical use. Linnæus had introduced morisis “idiocy.”

The feeble-minded may be divided into: (1) Those who are totally arrested before the age of three so that they show the attainment of a two-year-old child or less; these are the idiots. (2) Those so retarded that they become permanently arrested between the ages of three and seven; these are imbeciles. (3) Those so retarded that they become arrested between the ages of seven and twelve; these were formerly called feeble-minded, the same term that is applied to the whole group. We are now proposing to call them morons, this word being the Greek for “fool.” The English word “fool” as formerly used describes exactly this grade of child—one who is deficient in judgment or sense. [Henry H. Goddard, in “Journal of Proceedings and Addresses” of the National Education Association of the United States, July 1910]

• The Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition, defines “moron” as, anobsolete term for a person with the highest grade of mental retardation, equivalent to the modern classification “mild mental retardation.”

• Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary states that “This outmoded and imprecise term is best avoided in medical speech and writing because of its pejorative lay connotations.

• Segen’s Medical Dictionary, writes this of the word, stating that it is “An obsolete term formerly used for an individual with mild mental retardation (IQ 50–69). Vox populi – A derogatory term used indiscriminately for an obtuse person, regardless of that person’s tested IQ.”

Of course, I have often said, “There’s no moron like an oxymoron.”

And you can quote me on that.

But the term, now often considered a pejorative, has fallen out of favor with the “influencers” of society, social media platform morons who Read the rest of this entry »

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Cheating On Taxes, Bumming A Ride, And Economic Growth

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Renown U.S. economist John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) identified an economic theory – the “horse and sparrow” – which he described thusly:

“If you feed the horse enough oats,
some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.”

Today, we call that “trickle down” economics – the theory popularized and promoted by POTUS Ronald Reagan. Never mind that the word “trickle down” just sounds so very wrong – the picture of urine being foremost – but the renown London School of Economics has recently put the kibosh on that idea, after studying history of 38 nations over 50 years which did the same thing – cut taxes on the wealthy in the hopes that it would provide economic stimulus of various and sundry types.

It did not.

For anyone who’s been paying even the slightest amount of attention, they would know that the world’s wealthiest man – Jeff Bezos – paid practically no income taxes on his vast personal fortune, neither did his corporation, Amazon. He was by no means the only one who shirked their patriotic duty by cheating the government, there were many more – billionaire pal Elon Musk is among them.

Dr. John Kenneth Galbraith, PhD, was a noted economist and author, the Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at Harvard University, former Ambassador to India, and former Presidential Advisor. Internationally renown for development of Keynesian and post-Keynesian economics, he was equally well-known for his wit and candor, evidenced in his prolific writings, which included over 30 books. His last book was a 1999 memoir “Name-Dropping,” in which he wrote about the historical individuals whom he’d known in his long, colorful life as an economist, professor, ambassador, and lifelong liberal.
Harvard University News Office image handout

As well, PayPal founder Peter Thiel, another billionaire, took unfair and unjust advantage of a Roth IRA – a savings vehicle created and designed to benefit the working families of America – and using tricks and maneuvers not available to the average person, turned a retirement account worth under $2000 in 1999, into a $5 billion tax-free windfall by the end of 2019. That same year, Forbes estimated his net worth at $2.3 billion – less than half of his Roth IRA’s value.

In stark contrast, the average Roth IRA was valued at $39,108 at the end of 2018.

So, we have one perspective, but let’s put things in even more clear focus, shall we?

How much is $5 billion?

If every single one of the 2.3 million people in Houston, Texas were to deposit $2,000 into a bank today, the total of all their accounts would still not equal what Peter Thiel has in his Roth IRA.

Of course, since a Roth IRA is a retirement income savings vehicle, taxation of deposited funds is not just significantly deferred until after the 60th birthday of the depositor, it is 100% TAX FREE FOREVER. So in essence, he cheated the system.

While you, I, and other patriotic Americans are dutifully paying our income taxes like the loyal citizens we are – paying for all of our nation’s governmental services, military service members salaries, defense budget, and more – most all wealthy Americans are very happy to continue shirking their responsibilities to pay their fair share, and are even more happy that you, I, and every other red-blooded patriotic American are picking up the tab for them.

This article details exactly how PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel truly cheated a system which was NOT designed for wealthy individuals.
https://www.propublica.org/article/lord-of-the-roths-how-tech-mogul-peter-thiel-turned-a-retirement-account-for-the-middle-class-into-a-5-billion-dollar-tax-free-piggy-bank

This article cites prospective Congressional action which will likely be taken following publication, and discovery of the abuses of the Roth IRA by Peter Thiel, and other ultra-wealthy individuals.
The Ultrawealthy Have Hijacked Roth IRAs. The Senate Finance Chair Is Eyeing a Crackdown.
https://www.propublica.org/article/the-ultrawealthy-have-hijacked-roth-iras-the-senate-finance-chair-is-eyeing-a-crackdown

Now, as for the Horse And Sparrow Theory, a research paper by the London School of Economics found that, contrary to the assertions of those who promoted them, tax cuts upon the wealthy DO NOT improve the economy in any way whatsoever.

The study examined Read the rest of this entry »

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50 Years Of Failure – Total Wa$te Of Time And Money

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

How long does it take to see a failed social experiment for what it is – a total, abysmal failure, which has taken a wrecking ball to society?

Apparently, at least 50 years.

We learned much more quickly with beverage alcohol.


The War On Drugs: 50 Years Later

After 50 Years Of The War On Drugs, “What Good Is It Doing For Us?”

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/17/1006495476/after-50-years-of-the-war-on-drugs-what-good-is-it-doing-for-us

When Aaron Hinton walked through the housing project in Brownsville on a recent summer afternoon, he voiced love and pride for this tight-knit, but troubled working-class neighborhood in New York City where he grew up.

He pointed to a community garden, the lush plots of vegetables and flowers tended by volunteers, and to the library where he has led after-school programs for kids.

But he also expressed deep rage and sorrow over the scars left by the nation’s 50-year-long War on Drugs. “What good is it doing for us?,” Hinton asked.

As the United States’ harsh approach to drug use and addiction hits the half-century milestone, this question is being asked by a growing number of lawmakers, public health experts and community leaders.

In many parts of the U.S., some of the most severe policies implemented during the drug war are being scaled back or scrapped altogether.

Hinton, a 37-year-old community organizer and activist, said the reckoning is long overdue. He described watching Black men like himself get caught up in drugs year after year and swept into the nation’s burgeoning prison system.

“They’re spending so much money on these prisons to keep kids locked up. They don’t even spend a fraction of that money sending them to college or some kind of school,”  said Hinton, shaking his head.

Republican President Richard Nixon explains aspects of the special message sent to the Congress, June 17, 1971, asking for an extra $155 million for a new program to start his infamous social experiment which he called the “War on Drugs.” He labeled addiction and drug misuse “a national emergency” and said the money would be used to “tighten the noose around the necks of drug peddlers and thereby loosen the noose around the necks of drug users.” In 50 years, his plan has proven to be an abysmal failure. Behind him on the LEFT is Egil Krogh, Deputy Director of the Domestic Council. At right is Dr. Jerome Jaffe, MD who Nixon recruited to lead a new drug strategy. (AP Photo/Harvey Georges)

Hinton has lived his whole life under the drug war. He said Brownsville needed help coping with cocaine, heroin and drug-related crime that took root here in the 1970s and 1980s.

His own family was scarred by addiction.

“I’ve known my mom to be a drug user my whole entire life. She chose to run the streets and left me with my great-grandmother,” Hinton said.

Four years ago, his mom overdosed and died after taking prescription painkillers, part of the opioid epidemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Hinton said her death sealed his belief that tough drug war policies and aggressive police tactics would never make his family or his community safer.

The nation pivots (slowly) as evidence mounts against the drug war

During months of interviews for this project, NPR found a growing consensus across the political spectrum — including among some in law enforcement — that the drug war simply didn’t work.

“We have been involved in the failed War on Drugs for so very long,” said retired Major Neill Franklin, a retired Major with the Baltimore City Police and the Maryland State Police who led drug task forces for years.

During a press conference this week, he said, Read the rest of this entry »

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A Taxing Proposition

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

“Taxes are what we pay for civilized society, including the chance to insure.


A penalty, on the other hand, is intended altogether to prevent the thing punished.”

–– U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., dissenting opinion, “Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas v. Collector of Internal Revenue,” 275 U.S. 87, October term 1927, p100

On that court were Chief Justice William Howard Taft; Associate Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.; Willis Van Devanter; James C. McReynolds; Louis Brandeis; George Sutherland; Pierce Butler; Edward T. Sanford, and; Harlan F. Stone.

Holmes, Brandeis, and Taft are the only names many remember from that group.

Then-POTUS Warren G. Harding, a Republican, nominated Taft, also a Republican, to become Chief Justice (1921–1930) following the death of CJ Edward Douglass White, a Democrat, whom Taft had appointed as CJ in December 1910, while Taft was serving as President (1909–1913). Taft is, to-date, the only individual to have ever served in both positions – President, and SCOTUS Chief Justice.

But, here are a couple interesting facts:

1.) From July 4, 1901 until December 23, 1903, Taft was Governor-General of the Philippines, having been appointed by POTUS William McKinley. Having held that office previously, he should have recused himself from the 1927 case “Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas v. Collector of Internal Revenue.” But, he did not.

2.) Edward Douglass White served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, was a strident segregationist, and upheld racist laws which came before the court, including the notorious Plessy v. Ferguson case which gave rise to the “separate but equal” doctrine, and reinforced racist practices in the United States.

Today, such obvious conflicts of interest would not be tolerated. And I note this with a mark of appreciation: Justice Brett Kavanaugh recently recused himself (did not participate in) from a recent case before the court, because his father held some stock in one company being represented to the court.

Technically, “involvement” at that level exclusively doesn’t violate ethics rules, but having erred on the side of caution – exercised jurisprudential reservation – is commendable. That is because it demonstrates Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s True: The Über-Wealthy Pay ZERO Income Taxes

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Moochers.


We are disclosing the tax details of the richest Americans because we believe the public interest in an informed debate outweighs privacy considerations.

Today, ProPublica is launching the first in a series of stories based on the private tax data of some of our nation’s richest citizens. We obtained the information from an anonymous source who provided us with large amounts of information on the ultrawealthy, everything from the taxes they paid to the income they reported to the profits from their stock trades.

In the coming months, we plan to use this material to explore how the nation’s wealthiest people — roughly the .001% — exploit the structure of our tax code to avoid the tax burdens borne by ordinary citizens.

Many will ask about the ethics of publishing such private data. We are doing so — quite selectively and carefully — because we believe it serves the public interest in fundamental ways, allowing readers to see patterns that were until now hidden.

Tax experts have long understood that the wealthiest Americans reap outsized benefits from the federal tax code’s emphasis on taxing income rather than assets like stock holdings and property. Yet, when The New York Times disclosed in 2020 that President Donald Trump had amassed so many deductions he paid no taxes in 11 of 18 years, it was assumed that his case was an anomaly, reflecting the unique breaks real estate developers receive under our tax system.

It is now clear that there isn’t just one such taxpayer — there are many, in multiple industries. We believe that disclosing the identities of billionaires who paid little to no taxes in years their fortunes grew by billions of dollars will help readers understand the magnitude of the tax advantages the ultrarich enjoy.

https://www.propublica.org/article/why-we-are-publishing-the-tax-secrets-of-the-001


“America’s billionaires avail themselves of
tax-avoidance strategies
beyond the reach
of
ordinary people.
Their wealth derives from the
skyrocketing value of their assets,
like stock and property.
Those gains are not defined
by U.S. laws as taxable income
unless and until the billionaires sell.”

In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.

Typical Americans his age paid more in taxes than they saw in wealth growth over that period.

For every $100 of wealth growth from
2006 to 2018,
typical Americans paid $160 in taxes.

Bezos paid only $1.09.

Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.

ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans of business, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits.

Taken together, it demolishes

The Cornerstone myth of the American tax system:

That everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most.

The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.

Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, amassing little wealth and paying the federal government a percentage of their income that rises if they earn more. In recent years, the median American household earned about $70,000 annually and paid 14% in federal taxes. The highest income tax rate, 37%, kicked in this year, for couples, on earnings above $628,300.

The confidential tax records obtained by ProPublica show that the ultrarich effectively sidestep this system.

American multi-BILLIONAIRES
LEFT to RIGHT, TOP to BOTTOM: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg), Rupert Murdoch (News Corp), Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), Carl Icahn (Icahn Enterprises), George Soros (Soros Fund)

America’s billionaires avail themselves of tax-avoidance strategies beyond the reach of ordinary people. Their wealth derives from the skyrocketing value of their assets, like stock and property. Those gains are not defined by U.S. laws as taxable income unless and until the billionaires sell.

To capture the financial reality of the richest Americans, ProPublica undertook an analysis that has never been done before. We compared how much in taxes the 25 richest Americans paid each year to how much Forbes estimated their wealth grew in that same time period.

We’re going to call that their true tax rate.

The results are stark. According to Forbes, those 25 people saw their net worth rise a collective $401 billion from 2014 to 2018. They paid a total of $13.6 billion in federal income taxes in those five years, the IRS data shows. That’s a staggering sum, but it amounts to a true tax rate of only 3.4%.

It’s a completely different picture for middle-class Americans, for example, wage earners in their early 40s who have amassed a typical amount of wealth for people their age. From 2014 to 2018, such households saw their net worth expand by about $65,000 after taxes on average, mostly due to the rise in value of their homes. But because the vast bulk of their earnings were salaries, their tax bills were almost as much, nearly $62,000, over that five-year period.

No one among the 25 wealthiest avoided as much tax as Buffett, the grandfatherly centibillionaire. That’s perhaps surprising, given his public stance as an advocate of higher taxes for the rich. According to Forbes, his riches rose $24.3 billion between 2014 and 2018. Over those years, the data shows, Buffett reported paying $23.7 million in taxes.

That works out to a true tax rate of 0.1%, or less than 10 cents for every $100 he added to his wealth.

In the coming months, ProPublica will use the IRS data we have obtained to explore in detail how the ultrawealthy avoid taxes, exploit loopholes and escape scrutiny from federal auditors.

Experts have long understood the broad outlines of how little the wealthy are taxed in the United States, and many lay people have long suspected the same thing.

But few specifics about individuals ever emerge in public. Tax information is among the most zealously guarded secrets in the federal government. ProPublica has decided to reveal individual tax information of some of the wealthiest Americans because it is only by seeing specifics that the public can understand the realities of the country’s tax system.

Consider Bezos’ 2007, one of the years he paid zero in federal income taxes. Amazon’s stock more than doubled. Bezos’ fortune leapt $3.8 billion, according to Forbes, whose wealth estimates are widely cited. How did a person enjoying that sort of wealth explosion end up paying no income tax?

In that year, Bezos, who filed his taxes jointly with his then-wife, MacKenzie Scott, reported Read the rest of this entry »

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Research: 550,000+ Firearm-Related Hospitalizations 2000-2016

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 5, 2021

States in the Deep South lead the nation in average per capita firearm-related hospitalizations.

Average Firearm Injury Hospitalization Rate per 100,000, 2000–2016

1.) Louisiana – 24
2.) Tennessee – 18
3.) Alabama – 16
4.) Missouri – 16
5.) Maryland – 16
6.) Michigan – 14
7.) Illinois – 13
8.) North Carolina – 13
9.) South Carolina – 13
10.) Mississippi – 13
11.) Arizona – 13
12.) Arkansas – 12
13.) Delaware – 12
14.) Pennsylvania – 12
15.) Nevada – 12
16.) California – 12
17.) Oklahoma – 11
18.) Texas – 10
19.) Kansas – 10
20.) Indiana – 10
21.) Ohio – 10
22.) Kentucky – 9
23.) Virginia – 8

The national average is 10.

Ongoing and recently updated research by the RAND Corporation – a nonprofit, nonpartisan, research organization working in the public interest to develop solutions to public policy challenges to improve communities nationally, and worldwide by making them healthier, and more prosperous, safer, and more secure – showed that nationally:

“In 2018, 39,740 individuals in the United States were killed by firearms, making firearm violence the second leading cause of injury death in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], undated).

“As part of the Gun Policy in America initiative, RAND researchers developed a longitudinal database of state-level estimates of inpatient hospitalizations for firearm injury between 2000 and 2016. This database was first released in 2021 and is free to the public.

RAND researcher Dr. Andrew Morral, PhD who is the Senior Behavioral Scientist, and Director of the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research there, tweeted recently (April 28) that:

“Why are firearm hospitalizations not correlated with gun ownership in observed state hospitalization data or our estimates? Because they chiefly result from criminal assaults (vs. suicides) and these are not correlated with household gun ownership.”

This type of research is a phenomenally difficult proposition, and highly complicated undertaking, and the entirety of the paper is spent detailing and explaining their methodology, and sources, because not every state provides information to, or participates in HCUP, the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.

As well, data had to be compared and cross-referenced with other similarly related databases, such as the FBI’s annual UCR – Uniform Crime Report.

And then, they get into the math – the statistical analysis – and explain the formulae used, which then has to be checked with other external mathematical models to determine, and ensure a high level of accuracy. In short, this is not “relaxing reading” by any stretch of the imagination – it is highly technical explanations of phenomenally difficult work, which only indirectly points to the significance of their findings.

HCUP is the Nation’s most comprehensive source of hospital care data, including information on in-patient stays, ambulatory surgery and services visits, and emergency department encounters. HCUP enables Read the rest of this entry »

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FBI Data: Marijuana Arrests STILL Number 1 Nationally

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Federal Bureau of Investigation annually publishes a UCR, or Uniform Crime Report. It’s a statistical overview of crime and arrests in the United States compiled from reports from the Local, State and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies. Because of the vast volume of data, it takes quite a bit of time and concerted effort to organize the data into comprehensible form. Typically, such reports are at least a year behind. For example, the most recent year for which complete UCR data is available is 2019.

“The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program counts one arrest for each separate instance in which a person is arrested, cited, or summoned for an offense. The UCR Program collects arrest data on 28 offenses, as described in Offense Definitions.

Nationwide, law enforcement made an estimated 10,085,207 arrests in 2019. Of these arrests, 495,871 were for violent crimes, and 1,074,367 were for property crimes.

The highest number of arrests were for drug abuse violations (estimated at 1,558,862 arrests), driving under the influence (estimated at 1,024,508), and larceny-theft (estimated at 813,073).

– from “Crime in the United States, 2019” the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report

Other similarly-related substance misuse/abuse arrests, and their figures are Read the rest of this entry »

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Didn’t Feel The Bern? It Was Because Of Hillary.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, May 1, 2021

Donna Brazile, publicity photo

There are probably plenty of reasons to dislike Donna Brazile, the twice-former interim DNC Chair – not the least of which was the discovery that, following a WikiLeaks email dump, she’d been sharing debate questions with Hillary, and subsequent to a second release of the tranche, she resigned in shame from her position at CNN as a political commentator/pundit.

Perhaps she was trying to redeem herself, or, maybe she was trying to hold a light illuminating the damning evidence of HRC’s unethical behavior and corruption (though not illegal), or maybe she was hoping to drive another nail into Hillary’s political coffin, or “throw some others under the bus,” and even if it was a cathartic political “kiss and tell,” her motivation for what she wrote is not the question.

It is ~what~ she wrote in her book “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House” that tells the story.

She discovered that because of the party’s fiscal indebtedness, a backroom deal had been struck with Hillary and the DNC in August 2015, just Read the rest of this entry »

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What is socialism?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Socialism is when the government controls the means, and the method, of production.

In essence, socialism is a “government factory.”

But let’s examine some things that could be claimed are “socialist.”

Money.

The coinage and currency in your pocket is made by the United States government upon government-owned machines – stamping mills, and presses, with government-owned metals, government-owned paper, and government-owned inks.

But it’s not socialist.

Why not?

Because Read the rest of this entry »

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Topsy Turvy America

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 26, 2021

In America, you can get arrested for drinking a beer in public.

In Germany, one can legally walk around in public while drinking a beer. To do so is neither illegal, immoral, or unethical.

Of course, illegality, immorality, and unethical behavior are three entirely separate, and unique things. Suffice to say, they’re not the same.

In America, one cannot walk around in public while drinking a beer, or any other alcohol-containing beverage. In many, if not most, places, it’s illegal to do so – save, perhaps, for a few specially-designated areas, or upon certain occasions in those areas.

For example, it’s not uncommon to see pictures, or read news stories of college-aged students who can otherwise legally consume alcoholic beverages (being aged 21, or older), and even adults, who while enjoying almost any public beach in America, are accosted by local law enforcement authorities who either confiscate, or demand that the beer owner(s) destroy those ice-cold beverages by pouring them out, and sometimes, even arrest them, haul them off to jail, where they’re fingerprinted, photographed, and incarcerated, however briefly, as if they’re genuine threats to society, or had committed some grievously atrocious felony.

Of course, it almost goes without saying, that if anyone, anywhere in America was walking around in their local Wal-Mart, shopping while drinking a beer, the police would be called to the scene, and doubtlessly, the shopper/drinker would be arrested, and the story of it published on the worldwide web of the Internet for all the world to see.

Typically, in most all such instances, those individuals would be violating so-called “open container” laws, which forbid the public consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Yet interestingly enough, morbidly obese people can walk around in public eating hot dogs, doughnuts, and junk foods of seemingly innumerable variety and type, wash it all down with gallons of soda pop, and it’s not illegal to watch them commit their slow suicide in public, and no one dares think about calling the cops on them.

While it might seem that Read the rest of this entry »

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What Is Inflation?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

An inflation is defined as when prices in general go up. Not every price, and not each price the same amount, but a general rise in prices is all that the word “inflation” means. Goods and services, in general, go up in price. Number one.

Number two: Simple. The people who decide on prices are employers – the people who own and operate businesses – ’cause that’s where most goods and services come from. And under a private enterprise system, the individuals who set the prices are the owners, operators, chief executives of corporations. So the first question to understand, first point, is that, if you have a general rise in prices, it’s the business community that’s doing that.

Now, the next question: Why would the business community do it?

Well, the first answer again, is simple – is because it’s profitable. It’s the easiest, quickest, and best way to make more profits – which is to take whatever it is you’re producing, and charge more for each unit of it that you sell. In other words, to raise the price. So in many cases, there’s an inflation because businesses are raising prices to make more profits.

But of course, business Read the rest of this entry »

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Good News! Bernie Madoff Is Dead!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Some people make you happy with their arrival, while others bring joy with their departure. So it is with Bernard L. Madoff.

Scumbag Ponzi schemer, thief, liar, chronically habitual pathological prevaricator, con artist, good-for-nothing felonious criminal Bernard Madoff has died aged 82 this morning in Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, a facility in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, according to an anonymous source with direct knowledge of the matter and who was not authorized to speak publicly. The BOP acknowledged Madoff’s death later in the day.

The Associated Press and CNBC reported that Madoff died of apparently “natural causes” while serving a 150 year sentence handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin who sentenced Madoff to the maximum penalty in March 2009 after Madoff plead guilty to all charges against him. In July 2019, financial news network CNBC reported that Madoff had filed application the Department of Justice for commutation of his sentence from then-President Trump, which was summarily denied.

Bernard L. Madoff, USDOJ booking picture 2008

When U.S. District Court Judge Danny Chin sentenced Madoff, he said in part that, “Here, the message must be sent that Mr. Madoff’s crimes were extraordinarily evil and that this kind of irresponsible manipulation of the system is not merely a bloodless financial crime that takes place just on paper, but it is instead … one that takes a staggering human toll.”

At his sentencing, Madoff appeared to attempt to minimize the catastrophic damage he’d inflicted which he had caused, and said that his actions were a “problem,” “an error of judgment” and “a tragic mistake.”

Following his arrest, Bernie Madoff was initially jailed briefly at the infamous Metropolitan Correction Center in Lower Manhattan after pleading guilty to 11 Federal felony criminal charges that carried a combined maximum prison sentence of 150 years, and was sentenced June 16, 2009 for masterminding the largest investment fraud in United States history. At the end of November 2008, his fraudulent firm, Bernard L. Madoff Securities, reported to his victim-clients that their so-called investments with him were valued at a total of $65 billion. However, he held but a very nominal fraction of that amount.

For several decades, Madoff was a considered a Wall $treet golden-haired guru, and even enjoyed a chairmanship of the NASDAQ stock market which he helped establish.

As a self-styled “investment advisor,” Madoff cast himself as a self-made man with a veritable sixth-sense for financial markets that defied their inevitable fluctuations.

The types of people whom he defrauded and bankrupted were as broad-reaching as his scam, and ranged from Florida retirees to celebrities including renown film director Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin Bacon, Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, and included the ruination of various charities and foundations.

Among Madoff’s client-victims were Read the rest of this entry »

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Tennessee’s Republican Legislators Seek To Cut Unemployment Benefits Time

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 9, 2021

Tennessee’s Republican State Legislators Have Lost Their Minds

Republican-written legislation being considered in the Tennessee General Assembly would kick to the curb over 65,000 unemployed Tennesseans who have lost their jobs due to the COVID pandemic.

Republicans are seeking to cut in half the time frame for collecting unemployment benefits.

Richie Townsend, 39, an East Nashville resident and former bartender at Rolf and Daughters in Germantown, has struggled to find work after losing his restaurant job when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020.

In the time since, he’s held various unstable, low-paying jobs from which he, and others, have been fired over three times, due to no fault of his own. During those times, he has applied for, and has been granted access to his State Unemployment Compensation, a type of insurance paid for by employers, and backed by the state government, which all 50 states have.

Fortunately, he has benefits remaining, but only because of the extensions granted by Congress.

He’s recently started a new job in Franklin, but even as the state told him it is expediting his request for benefits, he’s reached out to his state House member but hasn’t gotten any payments on his latest extension.

“It sounds like an over-exaggeration by our local government to try to react to the fact that unemployment was extended for a year and a half in total,” he said.

Though he hates to admit it, Townsend says he’s Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NCAA Claims Student Athletes Who Make Them BIG BUCK$ Don’t Deserve A $hare

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

Today, the NCAA is appearing before the United States Supreme Court today arguing about… money.

Yes, money.

This case verges on indentured servitude, and hypocrisy is open, and plainly evident.

But hey… what else is new when it comes to treatment of the impoverished, females, and minorities?

Meanwhile, the BIG BUCKS go to build lavish facilities for the male athletes, not all of which are for training, to the coaches for their $alarie$ and compen$ation, and to build extravagant stadiums and arenas.

Not even a fraction goes to the athletes.

And none of it goes to the students.

Not one thin dime.

Here’s an idea instead of paying coaches eye-popping salaries, how about capping their compensation, and placing about half of the money toward student scholarship?

It’d be an INVESTMENT in education, for that is the primary (hopefully) reason the athletes chose to become students at the university where they play.

And best of all, it would ALL come from the Private Sector, one of many “holy cows” of the GOP Brahmans.


Take To The Court: Justices Will Hear Case On Student Athlete Compensation
March 31, 2021, 5:00 AM ET
Heard on Morning Edition
by Nina Totenberg

Nina Totenberg at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2019. (photo by Allison Shelley)

https://www.npr.org/2021/03/31/982836334/take-to-the-court-justices-will-hear-case-on-student-athlete-compensation

As March Madness plays out on TV, the U.S. Supreme Court takes a rare excursion into sports law Wednesday in a case testing whether the NCAA’s limits on compensation for student athletes violate the nation’s antitrust laws.

The outcome could have enormous consequences for college athletics.

The NCAA maintains that Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Could there be anything more onerous?

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

No.

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

You read that correctly.

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

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

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

How about THEM apples, eh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOTHING!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TAX ALL CHURCHES!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERNAL SKEPTICISM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEATHERING A DOWNTURN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PURSUING AID

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A QUESTION OF NEED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

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

___

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

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

Posted in - Business... None of yours, - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man?, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News, WTF | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A NOTE ABOUT HEDGE FUNDS:

Investopedia writes this about hedge funds:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


businessinsider.com

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

by Liam O’Hara


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

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

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

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

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

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

We’ve been through this type of thing before.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Publix Grocery Stores Supports Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, January 30, 2021

Publix grocery store’s prices are SIGNIFICANTLY higher, too.


miaminewtimes.com

Publix Gave $100K to DeSantis’ Re-Election Campaign Last Month

by Jessica Lipscomb<
January 12, 2021 – 10:26am


If you’ve been paying attention, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that Publix — Florida’s cult-favorite grocery store — made a six-figure contribution to the state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, last month.

For years, the Lakeland-based company and members of its founding family have supported conservative causes and backed efforts to oppose progressive legislation, including the legalization of medical marijuana and the regulation of polystyrene, better known by the brand name Styrofoam. In 2018, Publix leaders gave $670,000 to a campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam. The next year, heirs to the Publix fortune donated $28,000 to Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and $25,000 to a PAC supporting DeSantis’ re-election bid.

Last month, Publix doubled down on its support for the business-friendly governor. In December, the grocery chain made four $25,000 contributions to the Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC, which has raised more than $50 million to date. Publix previously donated $25,000 to the committee in January 2020 and another $25,000 in November 2019, according to state records.

A spokesperson for Publix’s Florida stores did not respond to an email from New Times asking why the company supports DeSantis’ re-election.

The grocery chain has previously come under fire for its political donations. After survivors of the Parkland shooting reamed Publix for its support of Putnam, who described himself as a “proud NRA sellout,” the company in 2018 said it would re-evaluate its corporate processes for political advocacy. But the controversy died down weeks later, and Publix continued to make campaign contributions.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at a Publix COVID vaccine announcement.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at a Publix COVID vaccine announcement.

While many businesses have suffered because of the COVID-19 pandemic, grocery stores like Publix have enjoyed record sales as more people shifted to eating at home. The Lakeland Ledger reported that Publix’s profits rose 41 percent for the first nine months of 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019.

Now, the pandemic is Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

Give money to everybody who needs money.

It’s just that simple.

How much, how many?

10,252,500 people

$30,000 cash

$10,000 in their FICA/SECA accounts

That’s a total of $40,000 per person.

The Quick-N-Easy math looks like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why do something like that?

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

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

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Can you survive on $4.50/day? The Banana Republicans think you can.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 23, 2020

$600?

Really?

For 9 months?

The POTUS has suddenly come out of his hidey hole and said that The People need more, and that Read the rest of this entry »

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In his last days in office, Trump gives to the rich.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Good-for-nothing bastard.

The late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had something to say about such abuse:

Whenever the government provides opportunities in privileges for white people and rich people they call it “subsidized” when they do it for Negro and poor people they call it “welfare.”

The fact that is the everybody in this country lives on welfare. Suburbia was built with federally subsidized credit. And highways that take our White brothers out to the suburbs were built with federally subsidized money to the tune of 90 percent.

Everybody is on welfare in this country. 

The problem is that we all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free enterprise capitalism for the poor. That’s the problem.”

From a sermon entitled “The Minister to the Valley,” February 23, 1968, from the archives of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.


Scores Of Private Charitable Foundations Got Paycheck Protection Program Money

https://www.npr.org/2020/12/16/946739398/scores-of-private-charitable-foundations-got-paycheck-protection-program-money

Scores of private charitable foundations, set up by some of the nation’s wealthiest people, received money from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, which was created last spring to save jobs at small businesses as the coronavirus tanked the economy.

NPR has identified at least 120 foundations that collectively received more than $7.5 million in PPP funding. That’s a small slice of the overall program, which disbursed about a half-trillion dollars, but some of the foundations are linked to individuals of considerable means: An oil magnate, a cable television tycoon, a dermatologist called the father of modern hair transplantation, and an aviation entrepreneur who founded companies with annual sales of more than a billion dollars.

President Trump speaks as Jovita Carranza, Administrator of the Small Business Administration; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; and Ivanka Trump, advisor to the president, listen during a Paycheck Protection Program event in the East Room of the White House on April 28, 2020.

Recipients also include the Walt Disney Family Foundation, the Read the rest of this entry »

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David Perdue wrote a letter asking the POTUS to import cheap foreign labor.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, December 15, 2020

If you want to know what a person will do, simply look at their past.

That’s a generally good rule to observe, and that principle is found in practically every activity of human life – even in politics.

So, let’s examine Georgia’s Banana Republican Senator David Perdue, who was formerly Dollar General CEO from 2003 to 2007 of the Goodlettsville, TN-based business.

David Perdue has been selling out Americans for a long time. As long as it made a fast buck for him, or whoever hired him, he was okay with that.

A little-known fact about Perdue – but one well worth remembering, and publicizing – who is campaigning against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff (from whom he also hides and refuses to debate), is that when Perdue was Dollar General’s CEO, he was significantly responsible for driving manufacture of most of the company’s merchandise out of America, to Chinese factories. In a 2004 conference call with investors, he said in part that, “We have opened a sourcing office in Hong Kong, and I can tell you we have had a dramatic impact on our business by having direct contact with our manufacturers.”

Of course, Perdue Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Business... None of yours, - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News, WTF | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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