Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘wealth’

White Tennessee Residents In A Slave Trade Town Oppose Teaching Slavery History

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, September 23, 2021

In a small Tennessee town with a population of 83,454 — comparatively, Huntsville, AL has 100,000 more — where, in the public square, in front of the county courthouse, from which numerous lynchings occurred, on the site of a former slave trading market, stands a statue known by locals as “Chip,” so nicknamed for the chip in his hat.

“Chip” has been around since 1899, and, in a sense, could be thought of as a relative “newcomer” to the community, per se — which was founded 1799 — though an enduringly stalwart one, at that.

“Chip” is made of the finest Italian marble, and, according to the United States Geological Survey, which measured, calculated, and installed a marker upon its base in 1931, stands 648.82 linear feet above sea level. Nearby Nashville is only slightly more elevated at 1160 feet above sea level.

While “Chip’s” maker is largely unknown (though it is thought to be one of many such replicas installed), what is known about him is who commissioned him — the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

You see, “Chip” is homage to the Confederacy, and to Confederate soldiers.

Upon its base is enscribed the following: Read the rest of this entry »

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Republicans: “THE SKY IS FALLING!! THE SKY IS FALLING!!”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, September 6, 2021

Spendthrift Democrats ignore looming bankruptcy of Social Security and Medicare
By Liz Peek, Opinion Contributor — 09/04/21 03:00 PM EDT
Liz Peek is a Fox News contributor, conservative commentator, former partner of the now-defunct major bracket Wall Street investment banking firm Wertheim & Company, who worked as a oil industry research analyst on Wall Street over 20 years.

https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/570809-spendthrift-democrats-ignore-looming-bankruptcy-of-social-security-and


Liz Peek’s “bash piece” is purely tripe.

Let’s take it line-by-line — all my remarks are highlighted in GREEN and some are emboldened.

Here’s her opening line:

Are Democrats serious about confronting the impending collapse of Social Security and Medicare? It sure doesn’t seem so.

WOLF! WOLF! WOLF! Remember the Aesop’s fable of “The Boy who Cried ‘WOLF!'”?

Next line:

Instead of focusing on the looming bankruptcy of these programs, Democrats are pushing to spend $4-$5 trillion on a progressive wish-list of expensive new federal giveaways. Perhaps they believe that promising voters free college, free child care, free elder care and so much more will distract them from realizing that our most important safety nets are falling into disrepair.

“Federal giveaways,” she writes. You mean like TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY & THEIR CORPORATIONS? That’s CORPORATE WELFARE. And we mustn’t forget Jeff Bezos who paid NO INCOME TAX, nor did his MEGA CORPORATION AMAZON. And then, there’s the “Paris Hilton Tax Cuts,” which DOES NOT TAX inheritance… even though it’s like winning the lottery. They did NOTHING TO EARN IT. And that’s just a drop in the bucket.

Next line.

Moreover, President Biden and congressional Democrats want to significantly hike taxes to pay for shiny new entitlements. But taxpayers are already facing big hits just to maintain the ones we already have.

Refer to the preceding paragraph about income tax rates for individuals, and corporations, and those who do NOT pay income taxes — the wealthy. They DO NOT see the paying of taxes, including income taxes, as being a patriotic duty. And yet, it is. During the 2-term Republican administration of President Dwight David Eisenhower, income tax rates upon the wealthiest Americans was 90%+, and upon corporations was 50%+. AND DURING HIS ADMINISTRATION, OUR NATION GREW LIKE GANGBUSTERS. Some complain about “tax and spend.” And yet, that is EXACTLY how it works. And the spending goes RIGHT BACK INTO THE PRIVATE SECTOR, which is where it originated. Presently, in 2021, the highest personal income tax rate is 37%, while the highest corporate income tax rate is 21%.

Next couple of paragraphs.

This week, the trustees of the Social Security and Medicare programs released their annual reports; the news is not good.

The bottom line: Both funds are running out of money, faster than expected. Both Medicare and Social Security will need to be propped up, the sooner the better. Specifically:

    • Medicare’s Part A Hospital Insurance trust fund will go broke in five years; outlays are projected to exceed income by nearly $600 billion over the next 10 years. Over the longer term, we would need a 27 percent increase in the payroll tax or a 16 percent spending cut to keep the program running.
    • Gross spending on Medicare will increase from 4.1 percent of our entire economy this year to more than 6 percent over the next 20 years.
    • Social Security will become insolvent in 13 years. Under current law, the administration cannot guarantee full benefits to today’s retirees.
    • The trustees’ report says that Social Security will run cash deficits of $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years, equal to 2.3 percent of total taxable payrolls.
    • Social Security is estimated to post a cash-flow deficit of $147 billion this year, equal to almost 0.7 percent of GDP

The date of projected insolvency for these entitlements moved closer over the past year; the proposed remedies from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) become more draconian as time goes on.

The link provided by the author, Liz Peek, was NOT to an official United States Government website. It was to a group calling themselves “Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.” And even that group DID NOT present a link to official sources. Yeah… that sounds about right. Find someone who’ll agree with you on everything you say, and present that echo chamber as reality.

Here’s the “2021 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE BOARDS OF TRUSTEES OF THE FEDERAL HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTARY MEDICAL INSURANCE TRUST FUNDS“:
https://www.cms.gov/files/document/2021-medicare-trustees-report.pdf

Here’s the Social Security Administration’s “SUMMARY OF THE 2021 ANNUAL REPORTS“:
https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/index.html

Here’s the “Fact Sheet: 2021 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports” from the United States Treasury:
https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Fact-Sheet-2021-Social-Security-and-Medicare-Trustees-Reports.pdf

Here’s the Social Security Administration’s “Social Security 2021 Trustees Report.” 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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Kenneth Starr Helped Jeffrey Epstein Avoid Federal Prosecution

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

Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr departs his home September 10, 1998, in McLean, VA. The 445-page Starr report on the investigation into the affair between President Clinton and former White House Intern Monica Lewinsky was delivered to Congress Wednesday afternoon.
KHUE BUI/AP

Here’s your QAnon pedophile network boss.

Would you be surprised to know that it’s Kenneth Starr?

Remember: The [radical right-wing] QAnon conspiracy theory [falsely] claims that Democrats are involved in a global cannibalistic pedophile network, and that anti-Trumpers were directly involved in an attempt to destroy the 45th President’s efforts in office because he was onto their game and was rooting them out of “deep state” government bureaucracies and big business. The never-Trump movement began as intra-party opposition by prominent conservative Republicans to prevent him from being nominated, and later morphed.

And it is worth noting, that the pernicious QAnon conspiracy theory has long been discredited by numerous independent individuals, none of whom worked together, and that like many other conspiracy theories – and viruses – continually evolves, ever changing various elements of itself to potentially become as  damaging as possible.

There’s always at least one element of truth in every lie, no matter how far-fetched the lie is, for without it, the entire house of cards falls apart. That’s just how fragile conspiracy theories are. They CANNOT survive independently, and like all parasites, need hosts in order to perpetuate.

Great Saint James (top center) and Little Saint James (lower center) islands in the U.S. Virgin Islands were owned by Jeffrey Epstein.

And in this instance, pedophilia is the solitary bit of truth.

From that single germ, the conspiracy begins to grow. Assertions of the existence of international cartels or networks are built upon the fact that Epstein was known to frequently fly abroad to various nations, and between 1995 and 2013 logged at least 730 flights to and from Teterboro Airport, NJ – a small, general aviation reliever “corporate” airport, just 12 miles from midtown Manhattan, where he maintained a seven-story, including basement, 18,814 square foot residence at 9 East 71st Street, on the posh Upper East Side of Manhattan. The pilots’ flight logs of his travel to and from Teterboro Airport represent only about a third of his total air travel between 1995 and 2013, and consist of thousands of flights. He was arrested at Teterboro Airport July 6, 2019 returning from Paris.

His international travel was facilitated by ownership of several jet aircraft and helicopters, including a Cessna Citation jet, a Gulf Stream jet, and a Boeing 727 jet airliner nicknamed “Lolita Express,” along with two Caribbean islands — the 78-acre Little Saint James, and the larger adjacent 165-acre Great Saint James, in the U.S. Virgin Islands — and was known to host notable guests on the them, among whom are known to have been former U.S. President Bill Clinton, accompanied by his Secret Service agents, because flight itineraries, manifests and passenger lists detail that he flew there as Epstein’s guest at least 26 times.

Jeffrey Epstein, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department booking photo, 27 July 2006, following his indictment for soliciting prostitution.

Other notable personalities who Epstein hosted regularly included such high-profile individuals as Donald Trump, renown Harvard University Professor of Law, emeritus, Alan Dershowitz, the UK’s Prince 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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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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Kelly Loeffler Received Over $3M In Farm Subsidies… And Sits On The Agriculture Committee

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Blessed are those who have, for they shall be given more.

That’s not a genuine Bible verse, by the way. And if you’re any kind of decently well-read individual, with more than a perfunctory, or minimal knowledge of the Judeo-Christian collection of holy writings collectively known as the Bible, you would know that already.

And by that same token, of being any kind of decently well-read individual, you would also know that there is an eerie parallel to a saying that Jesus of Nazareth made about a related matter – the Parable of the Talents – as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. A parable, of course, is a moralizing tale, a story meant to illustrate some matter, and to point out a wrong doing, or type of injustice in an unobtrusive, easy-to-understand manner.

We’re going to get to Georgia’s appointed Republican Senator whose net worth of $500M is BY FAR the wealthiest member of Congress in just a moment, but first you need some background for understanding.

Woodcut from Historiae Celebriores Veteris Testamenti Iconibus Representatae — dated to 1712 — depicts the Parable of the Talents as told by Jesus of Nazareth, in Matthew 25:14–30. Two men bring the money that was entrusted to them back to their master, while a third man searches for his money outside.

The story states that, in preparation for a journey of some duration, an owner/master entrusted and distributed his money to his 3 servants. The unspoken hope, or expectation those days, is that, upon his return, they would have increased the portion with which they were entrusted and charged.

To one, he gave he gave 5 talents (a monetary measurement), to another he gave 2, and to the third, he gave 1 talent. Upon his return, the first two who received 5, and 2, respectively, reported that they’d doubled the money. The third did not, and rather, reported that he buried the money in the ground, and had not gained anything. Upon hearing that news, the owner became enraged, called that servant lazy and wicked, fired him, then ordered that single talent to be taken from him and given to the one with 10.

That’s an important point, which you’ll see later, why.

Jesus of Nazareth, who was telling the story, made a moral assessment, and drew a conclusion based upon the actions of that one who did not return a profit, and reportedly said, “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

While the story is simply told, the meaning behind it is uncertain, though there have been many sermons preached about the tale. And yet, the audience hearing that parable then, in the era in which is was told, would have interpreted it quite differently from today’s audience, according to Dr. Richard L. Rohrbaugh, STD, Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Religious Studies at Lewis and Clark College, whose primary scholarly pursuit was establishing proper historical and cultural contexts for Biblical texts.

Dr. Rohrbaugh said that, in the era in which the story was first told, the audience would have understood that the “profit” was made through the exploitative abuse of others, and that the third servant was the one which would have been considered honorable by the standard of the day. Thus, that interpretation of the parable, would mean that the first two servants were shameful, instead of the third. When asked about the matter, Dr. Rohrbaugh said in part that,

“[G]iven the “limited good” outlook of ancient Mediterranean cultures, seeking “more” was considered morally wrong. Because the pie was “limited” and already all distributed, anyone getting “more” meant someone else got less. Thus, honorable people did not try to get more, and those who did were automatically considered thieves: To have gained, to have accumulated more than one started with, is to have taken the share of someone else.”

As he explained in the Biblical Archaeology Society, “In the ancient world, greedy people who did not want to get accused of profiting at someone else’s expense – which was considered shameful – would delegate their business to slaves, who were held to a different standard.” Dr. Rohrbaugh explained that the reasoning was that, “Shameful, even greedy, behavior could be condoned in slaves because slaves had no honor nor any expectation of it.”

Again, in the parable, the master 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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Guess Who Doesn’t Pay State Income Taxes?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, December 11, 2020

Let’s get some perspective on the unimaginably massive amount of wealth just ONE of these three men (in the article below) have.

Jeff Bezos, Founder, and CEO of Amazon dot com is, as of this writing, the wealthiest man in the world, bar none. With an estimated net worth of $183.3 billion it’s often difficult to get a grasp on the amount of money that is. So, lets give it the good ol’ college try.

$183,000,000,000 –– it’s sometimes good to simply see the number of zeros in the figure.

If, from this point forward Mr. Bezos NEVER MADE ANY MORE MONEY, and spent $100,000 every day, it would take 5013 years to spend it all.

So, let’s up the ante… SIGNIFICANTLY.

Again, using the same premise, NEVER MAKING ANY MORE MONEY, and spent $1,000,000 ($1 million) every day, it would take 50 years. Mr. Bezos is presently aged 56. And, given the current life expectancy for men in the United States – especially, and particularly men of wealth, who have the finest of everything, including health care – he could reasonably be expected to live to age 86, or 30 more years. That’s according to figures from the Social Security Administration. So clearly, spending at that rate – $1,000,000/day – he couldn’t spend it all in his lifetime.

But, let’s examine it one more way.

If he were to Read the rest of this entry »

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The Wealthy And Kelly Loeffler’s Tax Dodging Days To End Soon

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 27, 2020

Congress will soon do something phenomenally noteworthy, and the outgoing President has said nothing about it. It could be because his predecessor had a hand in its initiation by co-sponsoring it in 2008, and because it had not yet become law by the time Obama left the White House, the soon-outgoing President could claim some degree of ostensible “plausible deniability,” for it will undoubtedly affect him, his clan, and numerous other very wealthy individuals.

The prospective legislation does not appear anywhere in the Congress.gov website, because it is set to be a “rider” on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is one of the final bills that this Congress will pass this year.

The legislation is remarkable for several reasons, not the least of which is that it was the result of collaboration among progressive Democrats, conservative Republicans and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin – groups not particularly known for their cooperation.

Because the bill significantly touches upon matters involving National Security, it will be an addition to the NDAA, and will require millions of anonymous business entities aka “shell corporations” to reveal their owners/beneficiaries to the United States Government in an effort to deter money laundering by hostile governments, global narcotraffickers, and other wealthy individuals who would elude American anti-money laundering laws.

Surprisingly little discussion about this momentous matter has been made by news reporting outlets, and yet, as Clark Gascoigne, Senior Policy Adviser for the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition said,

“It is certainly the most significant anti-money laundering reform in 20 years
– and probably the most significant anti-corruption reform as well.”

U.S. based shell companies have allowed drug traffickers, terrorists and America’s foreign enemies to operate freely.

The so-called “Panama Papers” – sometimes also called the “Mossack Fonseca papers” for the name of the obscure Panamanian law firm from which they were obtained – is a collection of well over 11.5 million documents identifying 214,488 entities and shell corporations, their owners, lawyers and the often-illegal network established to manage them, which were made public in 2016. Shell corporations are the anonymizing tools which the world’s wealthy individuals – business titans, celebrities, politicians, and narcotraffickers – use to hide their wealth.

Kelly Loeffler, Georgia’s Appointed Senator who is worth an estimated $500 million apart from her husband Jeffrey Sprecher, aged 65, who is Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange – the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange – also owns a significant portion of the NYSE, and together, they are worth an estimated $800 million to $1 billion dollars.

“Descante,” the mansion/estate of Kelly Loeffler and Jeffrey Sprecher, Founder, President, and CEO of InterContinental Exchange, which owns the New York Stock Exchange is now for sale. List price: $19,000,000.

Their house in the wealthy Atlanta suburb of Buckhead is owned by a shell corporation – Descante.

Loeffler’s financial disclosures list several versions of Descante Capital LLC companies, which serve as holding companies for her primary residence, “Descante,” an extravagant 15,000 square foot $10.5 million Atlanta mansion. However, those disclosures do not list a company called Descante Capital Holdings.

So is the $10 million dollar jet airplane she bought – a 100% tax write-off courtesy of the tax law changes brought by Donald Trump – to fly back-and-forth from Georgia to Washington, D.C.

A Federal Aviation Administration lookup for a mandatory two-year regulatory test shows that the jet’s operator is not listed as an individual, but as a company, Descante Capital Holdings.

Roger Sollenberger wrote a November 20, 2020 10:00AM (UTC) article for Salon which was entitled “Kelly Loeffler’s Disclosures Appear To Omit The Holding Company That Operates Her Private Jet: If the Georgia senator knowingly falsified or omitted information from her disclosure forms, that’s a crime.

Kelly Loeffler dodges taxes by placing ostensible ownership of her many assets into various shell companies, which are run/operated by accountants and/or lawyers for her benefit, though “on paper” it appears as if she has nothing to do with them… and yet, she is the DIRECT beneficiary of them ALL.

For additional information, see: Read the rest of this entry »

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After appointed as Georgia Senator, Kelly Loeffler bought a $10M jet to fly back & forth from GA & DC?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Yes, that’s 100% TRUE.

She used Trump’s 2017 tax cuts “loophole” to purchase a 2010 Bombardier Challenger 300 and claims she uses it for campaign travel.

While it’s unclear exactly how much she paid for the jet, which seats 8 passengers and can travel 3000 nautical miles, essentially coast-to-coast on one fill-up, an online listing of other such jets for the same year, make, and model, in an online listing shows $9.7 million to be an average asking price.

Kelly Loeffler’s Bombardier jet N830EC

Trump’s tax cuts essentially made private jets flying tax shelters for the wealthy. Under his changes, the entire purchase price of a new or used aircraft bought by a company can be a 100% tax deductible write-off against its earnings.

What the multi-millionairess did, was to create an “ownership trust” which is a company that owns the plane, rather than herself personally. By so doing, it offers some degree of anonymity by giving it the appearance of isolation from the individuals whom actually control it. Essentially, it’s a type of “shell company” set up exclusively for the purpose of ownership, and nothing else. It’s greatest single benefit? It helps avoid taxes.

Shell companies, while not illegal, per se, and can have legitimate uses, often deliberately “fly under the radar” to avoid payment of taxes, or for money laundering purposes, and are registered in the names of the attorneys or accountants who manage them, thus avoiding any readily identifiable connection with the person who truly owns it or benefits from it. Most often, shell companies are incorporated in nations with tax laws favorable to them, aka “tax havens,” which by law do not have to report income such as in Cayman Islands, Seychelles, Panama, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Belize, or other island or “offshore” nations.

The so-called “Panama Papers,” also sometimes called the “Mossack Fonseca papers” for the name of the obscure Panamanian law firm from which they were obtained, is a collection of well over 11.5 million documents identifying 214,488 entities and shell corporations, their owners, lawyers, and the often-illegal network established to manage them, which were made public in 2016.

Each aircraft has a registration number, often called a “tail number,” which is like an automobile license plate, or VIN, because it identifies an aircraft uniquely from among all other aircraft, under a system managed by the Federal Aviation Administration, and used in other nations. But unlike cars’ license plates which require regular periodic renewal (license plates essentially prove a tax has been paid), the tail number stays with the aircraft permanently, and is never reassigned to any other aircraft. So when a plane is sold, retired, or crashes, the number always accompanies the craft to identify it, regardless of its disposition.

N830EC, Kelly Loeffler’s Bombardier model BD-100-1A10 jet

There are some limitations on registration of aircraft in the United States to foreign individuals and/or corporations, however, which is to say, that unlike ocean-going vessels such as cruise ships, or cargo ships, under United States law, aircraft which are either majority or fully owned by foreign individuals or interests cannot be registered in the United States to be assigned a “N number,” aka “tail number.” An overview of the requirements and limitations can be found on the Federal Aviation Administration’s website here: https://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/aircraft_certification/aircraft_registry/register_aircraft/.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires shell companies to register with them, and Loeffler’s aircraft – N830EC (FAA registry page here: https://registry.faa.gov/AircraftInquiry/Search/NNumberResult?nNumberTxt=830EC) – is registered to Read the rest of this entry »

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Size Matters: The Beginning Of America’s End Can Be Stopped

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, October 24, 2020

When in the history of our nation have you EVER heard of ANY President denigrating the FBI and other agencies of the United States government – for ANY reason whatsoever?

So, what’s the endgame for the far right?

Total anarchy & chaos, or are they actually going for an authoritarian state?

What’s the difference between “Big Government” and autocracy?

The derisive term “big government” is one used by anti-government anarchists, even though they’d NEVER call themselves that. But then again, White Supremacists don’t call themselves anti-Constitutional terrorists, either.

Frankly, I have long maintained that, contrary to the numerous assertions we’ve heard spouted, our government is NOT “too big,” but rather is TOO SMALL to be either effective, or efficient.

Think of it in restaurant terms.

Go to a 5-star Michelin restaurant, and you’d expect to find only one cook, and one wait staff… right?

OF COURSE NOT!

For such a fine dining experience, with a patronage seating of 100 or so (minus bar space), it would be REASONABLE to have AT LEAST 25, or likely even more, staff of all kinds – ranging from maître d’hôtel, to sous chef, to chef de cuisine, to line cooks, kitchen porters, to wait staff, to sommelier, to bus staff, dishwashers, and others – including bartenders, runners, housekeepers, and more.

The beginning of America’s decline began in earnest with Ronald Reagan, who, in his grandfatherly-like tones, and “aw, shucks” disarming humor, won American’s hearts, and their minds followed. That included Democrats who voted for him in almost unprecedented numbers over incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter who introduced America to Energy Independence, Energy Conservation, Renewable Energy, and placed solar collectors/solar hot water heater panels atop the White House… which were promptly removed by the Reagan administration.

In his first Inaugural Address, “the Great Communicator,” as he was monikered, stated bluntly that “government is the problem.” It never occurred to anyone that if government was the problem, the obvious solution that problem is the elimination of it. And that’s precisely what he and the GOP set out to do. But it wouldn’t be called treason.

Of course, as a VERY skilled orator, having traveled across America on GE’s dime years earlier, he frequently gave talks that were very much sympathetic to BIG BUSINESS interests, all couched in patriotic language.

With his blessing, and encouragement, and the insidiousness of Newt Gingrich of Georgia as Speaker of the House, and their misguided fallacious “Contract With America” the GOP began to Read the rest of this entry »

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A Family First: Joe Kennedy III first in the clan to lose a Massachusetts election

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, September 2, 2020

To which I say,

GOOD!

It’s about damn time!

Joe Kennedy III, who is the 40-year old grandson of slain Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, challenged incumbent Ed Markey for the state’s upcoming U.S. Senate seat in the Democratic primary.

Kennedy lost.

It was a landmark, a high water mark, an event of immensely significant importance.

Perhaps it even intoned cataclysmic changes ahead.

Good ones, of course.

Just like “good trouble.”

The Boston Globe characterized Kennedy’s campaign style as an “increasingly bare-knuckled offensive,” while the headlines across the world were interesting… if not telling.

Let’s examine a few of the headlines from throughout the nation, and then, we’ll move along to WHY it’s a good thing that not-so-poor little Joe P. Kennedy III lost.

• The Boston Globe had a straight-forward “Ed Markey beats Joe Kennedy in Senate primary.

• While the Boston Herald wrote a more colorful, “Joe Kennedy, others lose out to the old geezer incumbents.”

• The Daily Mail of the United Kingdom, however, had a more telling, embarrassing, and detailed pronouncement, “The end of a dynasty: RFK’s grandson Joe Kennedy III becomes the first member of his family to lose a Massachusetts election as he is defeated in Senate primary in JFK’s old seat.

• New York’s venerable “Gray Lady” wrote semi-wishful we-wish-it-was-almost-a-contest type of headline as, “Markey Holds Off Joseph Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate Race.”

• The Rupert Murdoch-owned right-leaning tabloid-type New York Post wrote, “Joe Kennedy III suffers stinging defeat to Ed Markey in Mass. Senate primary.

• The Daily Beast wrote an unvarnished sobriquet, “Sen. Ed Markey Fends Off Challenge From Rep. Joe Kennedy III-Camelot Lost.”

• NPR wrote a steady-as-she-goes observation that, “Markey Fends Off Kennedy Challenge In High Profile Mass. Senate Primary.

• The Los Angeles Times wrote a semi-obituary with, “A Kennedy loses in Massachusetts and a storied dynasty fades.

• The Hill composed a  bare bones headline with, “Markey defeats Kennedy in Massachusetts.

• POLITICO wrote a blame-game headline with, “The Unlikely Kennedy Who Ended the Kennedy Dynasty.

• Ever the standard, the Associated Press wrote, “Markey defeats Kennedy III in Massachusetts’ Senate primary.”

• Business Insider wrote a more opinionated headline with, “Ed Markey defeats primary challenger Rep. Joe Kennedy, in a major victory for the left.

• Bloomberg wrote a fact-based, plain-Jane headline with, “Ed Markey Wins Massachusetts Democratic Primary, Defeating Joe Kennedy.

• The Chicago Tribune similarly wrote a fact-based headline with, “Sen. Edward Markey defeats Rep. Joe Kennedy III in Massachusetts’ Senate primary.”

• CNN had a different historical name recognition perspective with, “Sen. Ed Markey defeats a Kennedy in Massachusetts.

• CQ RollCall wrote, “A Massachusetts first: Kennedy loses Senate primary to Markey.”

• The Guardian wrote a fact-based, “Edward Markey defeats Joe Kennedy in Massachusetts Democratic primary.

• United Press International wrote a no-frills, straight-forward, “Ed Markey defeats Joe Kennedy III in Massachusetts primary race.”

Here’s also a wee bit of background to aid understanding.

Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr. (wearing glasses) family portrait

The Kennedy name, of course, is renown in American politics. And for perspective, Joe P. III is the grandson of the slain Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968). And Joe P. III is named for the family progenitor, Joseph Patrick Kennedy (1888-1969) – long rumored by numerous sources to have been a bootlegger during Prohibition, which, if the sources were lying, and the claim not true, would question their motives, since the senior Kennedy has long been dead.

That piddling matter aside, however, suffice it to say that the Kennedy family is wealthy… VERY wealthy. Maybe not Bill Gates, or Warren Buffet wealthy, but wealthy nonetheless. Forbes magazine writer Carl O’Donnell in the July 8, 2014 online edition, wrote about the Kennedy family wealth as follows:

“If America had an aristocracy, the most titled bloodline would certainly be the Kennedys. In the past half century, one Kennedy after another has occupied nearly every political position America has to offer, including the roles of congressman, senator, ambassador, mayor, SEC chairman, state representative, city councilman, and, of course, President.

“The sustaining force behind the Kennedys reign is hardly a secret. Thanks to Joseph P. Kennedy, who made a fortune from insider trading only to later chair the SEC, the family is fabulously rich. But exactly how much is America’s first family worth? Forbes pegs the extended family’s fortune at $1 billion.

“Protected by a labyrinth of trusts, as well as tax strategies that would make Joseph P. Kennedy proud, the Kennedy fortune now spans approximately 30 family members, and includes the surnames Shriver, Lawford and the Smith. At nearly $175 million as of 2013, Caroline Kennedy is the richest descendant by far, but more modestly endowed relatives, such as Robert Shriver, who is running for Los Angeles County Supervisor, still possess assets in the tens of millions, according to public financial disclosures required of government officials.

“The bulk of the family’s wealth is held in dozens of trusts, which range in value from tens of thousands to as much as $25 million. Nearly all are managed by Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, a family office located in New York City with assets dating back to 1927, according to Christopher Kennedy, a member of the Kennedy family who sits on the office’s board.

“Joseph P. Kennedy’s choice to place his fortune in trusts is possibly the single most critical reason why the family wealth is still around today. The most obvious benefit was to protect the fortune from the prying fingers of ne’er-do-well heirs, said Laurence Leamer, who wrote three Kennedy biographies. Trusts often prevent beneficiaries from tapping more than 10 percent of principal, said Rick Kruse, principal at Kruse and Crawford, which offers estate management advice.

“The trusts also protect the family assets from another set of prying fingers: Uncle Sam’s. By holding assets in so called “dynasty trusts,” which are passed from heir to heir for decades, if not longer, the Kennedy family fortune is largely insulated from the estate tax, Kruse said. Handled correctly, a dynasty trust could potentially maintain an un-taxable fortune indefinitely. The oldest Kennedy trust on record dates back to 1936.

“Like politics, tax savvy seems to run in the Kennedy family. The most recent example is Read the rest of this entry »

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All The Gold In California

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 6, 2020

Y’know… one thing which I appreciate about the Bloomberg site, is that they don’t seem to be exclusively limited to interests of business, per se.

That is, matters of business MUST, and do, involve people – as employees, and customers – and without either of those two groups of people, no business would exist.

For many years – I don’t know how many, but for a very L – O – N – G time – I have taken exception to, and disagreed with the statement that “the customer is the most important person in any business.”

From my perch in the catbird seat, I demurred, and stated that the EMPLOYEE is the most important person in any business, because a disgruntled employee can cost beaucoup bucks in lost sales/revenues. And many disgruntled employees will sink a company – regardless of who is at the helm. That’s because the adage is true, that the sailors run the ship, not the captain. And they allow the captain to do so (to lead them) by their consent – the consent of the governed. A mutiny is a very serious matter.

Point being, is that happy employees make happy customers, and happy customers buy things, and say good things about the company, and the employees.

It was only relatively recently that I learned that Sir Richard Branson – Founder of the Virgin Group, a privately-held multinational venture capitol conglomerate – says the same thing, that employees are the most important people in any business.

The irony of ironies is that despite the political differences in the many seemingly disparate voices today, is that Republicans, Democrats, and all others, want the same thing: A good job, a decent place to live, secure transportation, ability to feed themselves and their family, education for their children, and to be healthy enough to enjoy it all. Food, clothing, and shelter… those are not hard things to understand. Neither are they difficult to obtain. They’re not like the mythical “unobtainium.”

But we the people, despite what some may say otherwise, are not in a good place in this nation for the long-haul. What has happened, is that within our lifetimes, we the people have been sold a bill of false goods that somehow less is more, that the larger and more populous our nation becomes (we’re right at 330,000,000 – the third most populous on Earth, behind China and India, respectively each with over 1 BILLION more than us), the smaller the government will become, that somehow, mysteriously or magically, at some point, it will eventually disappear – because we’ll all be able to self-govern and therefore do not need external governance.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

And yet, that’s PRECISELY what “the Great Communicator” Ronald Reagan said in his first Inaugural Address immediately after he proclaimed that “government is the problem.”

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.”

Now, my point is NOT to “bash Regan” per se, but to point out the obvious – which is that Read the rest of this entry »

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Arrogant Kelly Loeffler

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 22, 2020

Loeffler: “Not dropping out” of Georgia US Senate race after stock trade controversy law violation

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/499116-loeffler-says-she-wont-drop-out-of-georgia-senate-race-after-stock-trade

Kelly Loeffler was appointed by narrow-margin-of-victory Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp to fill the unexpired term of three-term Georgia Republican US Senator Johnny Isakson who resigned from office at the end of 2019 due to Parkinson’s disease.

The gubernatorially-appointed temporary fill-in “Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler told Politico she is not dropping out of the Georgia Senate special election despite facing scrutiny over $20 million in stock sales she made following a closed-door Senate briefing in January about the coronavirus.

“Not only am I not dropping out, but I’m gonna win,” Loeffler told the news outlet Thursday.

“Loeffler, who is married to New York Stock Exchange CEO Jeff Sprecher, has said she does not control her own stock portfolio and that she was unaware of the exchanges. She has submitted documents to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, both of which are investigating trading action among senators around the coronavirus pandemic.”

Loeffloer’s net worth is reportedly well over $500,000,000, and is being investigted by the FBI and the Senate for suspicious stock sales timing in response to insider knowledge of the coronavirus obtained in the Senate.

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Greedy Corrupt U.S. Senators

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 20, 2020

Appointed Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, R

The United States Senate is controlled by a corrupt cabal of Republicans, none of whom are racial/ethnic minority. It’s LITERALLY (at least on the GOP side) an all-White enclave – with one extraordinary exception: Tim Scott of South Carolina – the Senate’s only Black Republican.

Yesterday at his incessant bully pulpit coronavirus harping press conference, the Liar in Chief claimed to not have known about her insider trades. That, strangely coming from a man who prides himself in, and publicly boasts about having all sorts of knowledge, and whom is known to be well-attuned to media (especially television, and Twitter) of all kinds.

Here’s the pertinent excerpt from the “Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force in Press Briefing” (linked above) held in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, April 19, 2020, 6:28 P.M. EDT:

Q: Mr. President, why on that task force did you include Senator Kelly Loeffler? There’s some questions about whether she may have —

THE PRESIDENT: Well, because she’s the senator from a great state, a state that I love: Georgia.

Q: But there’s some insider trading issues with her.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I — that, I don’t know. I really don’t know about that. But she’s a senator from Georgia, and she was included in the list, absolutely.

Go ahead. A couple of more. Go ahead, please. Yeah.

Most folks want to talk about Richard Burr, the first known case of Insider Trading on coronavirus information in the Senate..

But when we’re talking about Insider Trading, let’s not forget the gubernatorially-appointed Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, whom $old million$ of dollar$ of $tock THE VERY DAY (January 24) she attended a private, Senators-only meeting about coronavirus, and Tweeted about it. The Daily Beast was the first news outlet to report her nefarious deed.

But, let’s take a look at who’s shafting the American public by NOT playing fair and square and abusing their insider knowledge:

• Richard Burr, Republican North Carolina Senator – Net Worth $3M+

• Kelly Loeffler, Republican Georgia Senator – Net Worth $500M+

• James M. Inhofe, Republican Oklahoma Senator – Net Worth $9M+

• Ron Johnson, Republican Wisconsin Senator – Net Worth $30M+

Senator Richard Burr, R-NC

• Diane Feinstein, Democrat, California Senator – Net Worth $90M+

Nope, no trend or common denominators at all. Totally random. /sarcasm

All Senators,
80% Republican,
60% Male,
97% White,
100% Multi-Millionaires

• When he retires from the Senate in 2022, Burr will have been in Congress (House & Senate) a TOTAL of 27 years

• Loeffler is married to the CEO of the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange, and numerous other fims, is a political “newbie” appointed by Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp to temporarily fill the unexpired 2016 term of Johnny Isakson who resigned 31 December 2019 to care for his Parkinson’s disease. Loeffler intends to campaign for the office during a Special Election.

• Inhofe has been in Congress 33 years, and 17 years in Oklahoma State & Local politics TOTAL POLITICAL TIME=50 years

• Johnson is a political newcomer, and was first elected in 2010 to the US Senate
TOTAL POLITICAL TIME=10 years

• Feinstein was first elected to the Senate in 1992, before that she was 18 years in California Local politics
TOTAL POLITICAL TIME=46 years

Here’s a very simple solution:

Require all such financial assets (stocks, bonds, securities, including real estate, etc.) to be placed into a Blind Trust for the duration of their term of office.

Problem solved.

Insider trading by Congress? It’s time to fix the law

By Patrick Augustin, Francis Cong and Marti G. Subrahmanyam, Opinion Contributors — 04/19/20 01:30 PM EDT


Is trading by Congress illegal? Should members of Congress be allowed to trade financial securities that are sensitive to private information? The “coronavirus trades” made by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and his wife just prior to the March ’20 market crash raise these questions and signal the need for changes to the law. Some proposals go as far as banning stock trading by members of congress outright. The other extreme is to allow full discretion. The right solution is in between: Only allowing public officials to trade securities based on broad market indices.

The concern over insider trading by members of Congress is not new. Academic research shows that investment strategies that mimic trades by members of thU.S. Senate and thHouse of Representatives outperform the market by more than Read the rest of this entry »

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Billionaire Explains Why and How Capitalism Needs to Be Reformed

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 18, 2020

linkedin.com

Why and How Capitalism Needs to Be Reformed (Parts 1 & 2)


By Ray Dalio

Co-Chief Investment Officer & Co-Chairman of Bridgewater Associates, L.P.

Summary

I was fortunate enough to be raised in a middle-class family by parents who took good care of me, to go to good public schools, and to come into a job market that offered me equal opportunity. I was raised with the belief that having equal opportunity to have basic care, good education, and employment is what is fair and best for our collective well-being. To have these things and use them to build a great life is what was meant by living the American Dream.

At age 12 one might say that I became a capitalist because that’s when I took the money I earned doing various jobs, like delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, and caddying and put it in the stock market when the stock market was hot. That got me hooked on the economic investing game which I’ve played for most of the last 50 years. To succeed at this game I needed to gain a practical understanding of how economies and markets work. My exposure to most economic systems in most countries over many years taught me that the ability to make money, save it, and put it into capital (i.e., capitalism) is the most effective motivator of people and allocator of resources to raise people’s living standards. Over these many years I have also seen capitalism evolve in a way that it is not working well for the majority of Americans because it’s producing self-reinforcing spirals up for the haves and down for the have-nots. This is creating widening income/wealth/opportunity gaps that pose existential threats to the United States because these gaps are bringing about damaging domestic and international conflicts and weakening America’s condition.

I think that most capitalists don’t know how to divide the economic pie well and most socialists don’t know how to grow it well, yet we are now at a juncture in which either a) people of different ideological inclinations will work together to skillfully re-engineer the system so that the pie is both divided and grown well or b) we will have great conflict and some form of revolution that will hurt most everyone and will shrink the pie.

I believe that all good things taken to an extreme can be self-destructive and that everything must evolve or die. This is now true for capitalism. In this report I show why I believe that capitalism is now not working for the majority of Americans, I diagnose why it is producing these inadequate results, and I offer some suggestions for what can be done to reform it. Because this report is rather long, I will present it in two parts: part one outlining the problem and part two offering my diagnosis of it and some suggestions for reform.

Why and How Capitalism Needs to Be Reformed

Before I explain why I believe that capitalism needs to be reformed, I will explain where I’m coming from, which has shaped my perspective. I will then show the indicators that make it clear to me that the outcomes capitalism is producing are inconsistent with what I believe our goals are. Then I will give my diagnosis of why capitalism is producing these inadequate outcomes and conclude by offering some thoughts about how it can be reformed to produce better outcomes.

Part 1

Where I’m Coming From

I was lucky enough to Read the rest of this entry »

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For The People -or- For The Billionaires?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, February 23, 2020

Bernie Sanders is the man to beat. He is gathering a full head of steam, and when he selects Elizabeth Warren as his Vice Presidential running mate, together, they will be UNSTOPPABLE!

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders addresses an ecstatic crowd in El Paso, Texas following his Nevada Caucus win.

The irony of ironies, is that they more his opponents within and without the party castigate him, they make the case for him EVEN STRONGER!

After Sander’s Nevada Caucus win, Bloomberg’s campaign manager claimed that Sanders’ campaign “appeals to a small base,” however, as Senator Sanders – and others – have pointed out, he won the Nevada Caucuses precisely because of the diversity of people to which he appealed: Latino, African-American, White, Native American, Asian American, gay, straight, religious & non-religious, young, old, male, female, those with and without college education, single, married, working class, middle class, and more. And when he makes a good showing in South Carolina – where Joe Biden is the projected winner with a significant African-American population – Bernie could topple Biden, but even if he won 2nd place, it would reinforce his status as Democratic front-runner.

Edward-Isaac Dovere, writer for The Atlantic, authored a brief article titled “The Democratic Establishment Is Broken” which was published February 22, 2020. Its banner read “After the Nevada caucus, Democratic Party leaders have never looked more uncertain about their future.” In it, he makes the point that, like Sanders and others have been saying – including Warren, Buttigieg, and other former candidates – which is that Sanders’ grassroots supporters acknowledge that so-called establishment Democrats -and- Republicans bear significant responsibility for the corrupting influence of money in which American public policy and law have caused, and because in turn, party bosses and others perceive their BIG MONEY funding sources could be jeopardized, has caused consternation among them. Yet ironically, by their very remarks, those same party bosses are making the very case about which the grassroots supporters are complaining.

Multi-billionaire Mike Bloomberg, entrepreneur and former New York City Mayor who left the GOP in 2007, and won a 3rd term as an Independent candidate, is campaigning as a new-comer Democrat, insofar as he decided to cast his hat in the ring very late in the game, long, long after most candidates’ ground game had been in effect. In fact, he affiliated with the Democratic party only recently, in October 2018, and launched his candidacy November 24. Bloomberg, whose net worth is an estimated $62 BILLION, has self-funded his candidacy, and according to records from the Federal Election Commission, has spent well in excess of $350 million, and counting in advertisements. That accounts for 0.564516129032258% (about 1/2 of 1%) of his vast fortune. And then, there’s the costs of his campaign team members, most whom are reportedly paid very handsomely in comparison to standard accepted rates for such work – at least twice, or more – and given iPhones and iPads to keep for themselves after their work for him is done.

That, of course, is not begrudging well-paid people, nor his largess. But it does cast a somber and sobering pall over the very matter, of the system now in effect, when to numerous causal observers it appears, for all practical purposes, as if he’s attempting to buy the nomination. And it certainly raises questions about his motives, or of others who may have encouraged him. Altogether, “the optics” as some say, don’t look good.

And then, there’s the other matter in which party members are Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Should Churches Should Be Taxed?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Ownership of these churches in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe was transferred to the parishes. As a result, the churches are excluded from the bankruptcy estate available to clergy abuse victims. [Photographer: William LeGoullon for Bloomberg Businessweek]

Tax churches because they’re businesses, plain and simple. The product or service they provide is religion and/or spirituality.

Bloomberg Business News published the findings of their most recent financial investigation, which showed that – as expected – like any nominally competent business organization, or conglomerated international corporation, the Catholic Church in the United States has moved to protect its assets from being considered part of any potential judgments/settlements arising from individual or Class Action lawsuits initiated by individuals (plaintiffs) who as children were abused by priests, and now are adults.

From a business perspective, one could think of it as the Church opposing members who may be potential or prospective “creditors” in any liability arising from sex abuse cases.

The Federal Government needs to RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) them, because they’re clearly corrupt as evidenced by:
• Perpetrating, and perpetuating, sexual abuse, by;
• Deliberately hiding and shuffling perpetrator priests, and by;
• Deliberately shifting and hiding assets in response to lawsuits.

Catholic Church Shields $2 Billion in Assets to Limit Abuse Payouts

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-01-08/the-catholic-church-s-strategy-to-limit-payouts-to-abuse-victims

“In many cases, churches precede bankruptcy by transferring and reclassifying assets.

The effect is to shrink the pot of money available to clergy abuse victims.

“That and Chapter 11’s [bankruptcy] universal settle­ments and protections from further claims have been an effective Read the rest of this entry »

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Wall Street Pete Buttigieg’s Wine Cave Fundraiser

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, December 20, 2019

Imagine… being seated at an exclusively small underground club, with a polished onyx table, reflecting a chandelier with 1500 Swarovski crystals, and being served some of the finest cabernet sauvignon wine which sells for $900 a bottle, with only your closest 20 to 30 billionaire and multi-millionaire friends present.

If that sounds too far-fetched, think again.

That was a recent closed-door Pete Buttigieg fundraiser in Napa Valley, California.

No, it’s not a joke.

Here are a couple screenshot images of an Instagram posting which has now been removed which shows the South Bend, Indiana Mayor rubbing elbows with the filthy rich and powerful.

THIS was the reason “wine caves, $900-dollar-per-bottle wine, and $5000 selfies” were mentioned in the Democrat’s December debate.

And, no, it’s NOT a joke when he’s called “Wall Street Pete.”

Turns out, there’s a good reason for it.

According to Fortune magazine’s October 4, 2019 article entitled Pete Buttigieg Takes Lead as Big Business Candidate in 2020 Field,” “Buttigieg caused controversy this week when Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that he had emailed the mayor and his team resumes for campaign positions. The pair overlapped during their time at Harvard and have a number of mutual friends.

“In Silicon Valley, the former McKinsey consultant has attended fundraisers hosted on his behalf by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Nest Labs co-founder Matt Rogers, and Chelsea Kohler, director of product communications at Uber.

“Buttigieg has also racked up donations from a number of top Facebook executives, as well as Scott Belsky, chief product officer at Adobe, and Wendy Schmidt, the wife of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. He leads the 2020 field in the amount of online donations he’s received online from California tech employees. Biden, meanwhile, didn’t crack the top five.

“Buttigieg, meanwhile, has been making himself known to the Wall Street set. The combat veteran out-raised all of his political rivals in Connecticut during the third quarter of this year, according to Federal Elections Commission filings. Connecticut is the wealthiest state in the U.S., largely because of its large concentration of Wall Street and Hedge Fund luminaries.”

At the Democrats’ December debate, which Read the rest of this entry »

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Even MORE Famous Last Words

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, December 7, 2019

“You all just got a lot richer.”

– POTUS Donald Trump, to friends Friday night, December 22, 2017 at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, FL, after signing his tax cut bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-97)

In response, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Tweeted that “At least Trump is finally telling the truth about his tax bill.”

The Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan, objective investigative branch of Congress, reported that the Trump tax cuts did not benefit the average American worker. Only $28 Read the rest of this entry »

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Re-Examining Personal Income Taxes

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 18, 2019

Those who encourage tax cuts on the wealthy & corporations are misguided.

Here’s why:
They mistakenly believe that by reducing taxes upon the wealthy, it will increase their consumption – or, that in their benevolence, they’ll “create jobs” for the masses. (Which is also why they’re treated like “sacred cow job-creators.”)

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The wealthy already consume more. They consume more conspicuously, and they consume more governmental services.

No one “hates” the wealthy.

At least I don’t.

But, we ALL expect them to pull their fair share, not shirk their responsibilities, and we expect them NOT push their fair share onto others who are less capable.

I continue to analogize the matter this way:

There are THREE people who MUST move an 800-pound boulder:
1.) A Strongman body builder;
2.) An 80-year old, 80-pound Granny, and;
3.) An Average man.

Should we tell Read the rest of this entry »

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How did we ever get into the mess we’re now in?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Democratic Presidential nominee candidates Senators Bernie Sanders (VT) and Elizabeth Warren (MA) continue to make the case that corporate America has harmed, and continues harming, the very field upon which they sow the seeds of their profit.

They further make the case that such governmentally-approved behavior is not merely injurious, but is unsustainable – if not fatal – to those same corporations, and ultimately, to the American economy upon which it feeds.

Citing examples of such greed and rapacious corporate profiteering by their über-wealthy owners and Wall Street overlords (to whom they are fiscally accountable and must share profits), and in conjunction with misguided Federal tax policy (led almost in whole part by Republicans), Senators Warren and Sanders show how overseas and foreign “outsourcing” – all in the name of increased corporate profits – have damaged average American families, including the cities, towns, and states wherein they reside, whom have all witnessed and suffered from wholesale corporate abandonment to foreign soil.

Slow learners are discovering that America’s narsicisstic wealthy “businessman” president – whom they elected, hoping he would be their knight in shining armor coming to their economic rescue – has also sold them out for his own self interests, exactly like his party’s predecessors. They were merely expendable pawns whom he deceived in his egocentric reality show/chess game. They’re merely the red-capped collateral damage in his monkey-business trade war.

Nowhere are the result of such policies more
plainly and painfully evident than in middle America,
where once-thriving factories have become hollowed-out shells

the veritable rotting skeletal corporate detritus which has
fostered and driven
the Opioid Epidemic in many states.

Once-renown industrial cities like Detroit, where the Big Three of the automobile industry – Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors – reigned since the early 1900’s, and supplied high-paying Labor Union wages with genuine, and significant healthcare and retirement benefits to generations of families. Children attended well-funded public schools, states and cities prospered, thrived and expanded exponentially. Teens who chose to attend college or university did so without incurring debt, and training for technically-skilled jobs and labor was supported by almost all secondary schools.

Then, as if seemingly unnoticed, small things began to change. It was if America’s hard-working men and women, and middle-class families had become the proverbial frogs in a pot of water, never noticing the water temperature was increasing, until they were boiled to death… while yet alive.

Life-saving medications like insulin for diabetics, antibiotics to treat and cure once-deadly infections, blood pressure medications which reduced strokes and many other hypertension-associated health problems, even the plastic bags which contained Normal Saline – typically given as adjunctive intravenous therapy in hospitals – began to be manufactured overseas, and along with it, came precipitous price hikes. So-called “pharma bros” took shockingly unjust and unimaginably avaricious pecuniary advantage of old-line medications – which had for years been off-patent – and jacked up their prices 5000%, or more, which placed them out of reach for many whose very lives depended upon them.

The giant, sloppy, wet kiss given to the Pharmaceutical Industry by Republicans under President George W. Bush in Medicare Part D didn’t help. Pharmaceutical companies were allowed to, and did, raise their prices, and Medicare – the single largest purchaser of medications in the world – was forbidden from negotiating for better, lower prices by that same law, which in turn, passed the price increases along to the insured, most of whom live on nominal, and fixed incomes.

Exorbitant pharmaceuticals hold patients hostage to disease,
as hapless physicians and feckless regulators are
paralyzed to become
Wall Street extortionists’ socioeconomic ransom.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/southernbreeze/4611472833/

The Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission” which solidified corporate personhood, and essentially said that “money is free speech” has neither helped. For if money was free speech, then the poor man would have none (thus violating the Constitution’s Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and the First Amendment which guarantees Freedom of Speech), and our laws were, and are, written for all equally.

Neither has the subsequent 2014 Alabama case McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission which “struck down Read the rest of this entry »

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Dying Skills

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 25, 2019

America is a wealthy nation.

There’s no question about it.

Even with the scourges of poverty, and homelessness affecting it, the United States is, per capita, among the wealthiest nations in the world.

The United States Census Bureau reports that “The official poverty rate in 2017 was 12.3 percent, down 0.4 percentage points from 12.7 percent in 2016. This is the third consecutive annual decline in poverty. Since 2014, the pov­erty rate has fallen 2.5 percent­age points, from 14.8 percent to 12.3 percent.”

The 2018 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR) by the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that “On a single night in 2018, roughly 553,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States. About two-thirds (65%) were staying in sheltered locations—emergency shelters or transitional housing programs—and about one-third (35%) were in unsheltered locations such as on the street, in abandoned buildings, or in other places not suitable for human habitation. Homelessness increased (though modestly) for the second year in a row. The number of homeless people on a single night increased by 0.3 percent between 2017 and 2018.”

According to various census measures internationally, there are very nearly 7.6 BILLION people in the world today. The United States ranks third globally in population with very nearly 330 Million. Only China and India respectively, are more populous, each with over 1.3 BILLION residents.

Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia, and Mexico, in order, round out the Top 10 most populous nations.

Extrapolating from the population, that’s nearly 1 out of every 597 people who are homeless in the United States. Expressed as a percentage, that’s 0.16757575% – a little over 1/10th of 1%… well UNDER 1%.

The International Monetary Fund in 2018 ranked the United States as the 10th wealthiest nation globally. The World Bank in 2017 ranked the United States as 11th wealthiest, and the Central Intelligence Agency from 1993-2017 ranked the United States as the 13th wealthiest nation as measured by Gross Domestic Product per capita.

When measured by adult median wealth, the United States ranks 21st, according to a 2018 Credit Suisse report.

That’s among a ranking of 170-190 nations for all four measures.

And when a ranking of total wealth is considered, the United States ranks first globally – again, according to the Global Wealth Report 2018 by Credit Suisse.

Using the Gini Index – a measure of the overall equality of life – the United States ranks Read the rest of this entry »

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“Paid for by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 15, 2019

Self dealing.

You’d think it was a crime, eh?

But, did you know that it is NOT illegal to shift campaign money into your private account?

Actually, directly, it is.

On their website, the Federal Election Commission states in part that, “Using campaign funds for personal use is prohibited.” (https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/making-disbursements/personal-use/)

They state further that, “Commission regulations provide a test, called the “irrespective test,” to differentiate legitimate campaign and officeholder expenses from personal expenses. Under the “irrespective test,” personal use is any use of funds in a campaign account of a candidate (or former candidate) to fulfill a commitment, obligation or expense of any person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or responsibilities as a federal officeholder.”

But indirectly?

That’s a horse of an entirely different color.

In the white-collar criminal underground, that’s called “money laundering,” which is the practice of shifting money through legitimate business enterprises in order to make it appear as if the money was obtained legitimately.

And that is but one reason why the FBI encourages accounting majors in university to consider joining their service – because scouring the financial books of businesses and other entities takes a well-trained eye to discern criminal wrong-doing.

On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump stood in Trump Tower, New York City, and said, “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.” (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/transcript-donald-trump-announces-his-presidential-candidacy/)

With that remark in part, he announced his candidacy to be the GOP’s nominee for President.

Of note, that was also when he’d made his now-infamous remark that, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably — probably — from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”

But earlier – 5 years earlier, in fact – he’d said to Fortune magazine in April 3, 2000, that, “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.” (https://fortune.com/2000/04/03/what-does-donald-trump-really-want/)

In December 2018, Forbes magazine reported that Read the rest of this entry »

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The GOP Hopes That You Keep Sleeping

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, July 31, 2019

America has become like the proverbial frog in a pot of water, which has slowly, but steadily, increased in temperature to the point that it is boiled alive without realizing it.

As the story goes, if the frog were dumped into boiling water, it would immediately jump out.

But, since the water’s temperature was initially comfortable, even pleasant, and only slowly increased, the frog gradually became acclimated to it, and therefore was, in effect, desensitized to the inevitable, impending danger, and died slowly.

For the past nearly 50 years or so, and more specifically, within the last 38, America has swooned under the siren song led by the GOP, which in part started off with the not-so-oblique condemnation that, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” (As Brian Gurney, a private citizen from California, noted: “You can’t govern if you don’t believe in government.” But set up a straw man, and beat it to a pulp – demonize the Constitutional effigy.) And to sweeten the deal, and help matters along, a little bit of “They’re individuals and families whose taxes support the government and whose voluntary gifts support church, charity, culture, art, and education. Their patriotism is quiet, but deep. Their values sustain our national life,” was thrown in for good measure (“a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” you know).

In order to facilitate that destruction, first was an appetizer of dessert – across-the-board personal income tax rates were cut 23%, which made the majority of working-class Americans and families very happy.

But then, calling them “job creators,” (veritable sacred cows which should be left alone to wander about in traffic and poop anywhere they desire) another round of personal income tax cuts came around, this time for the elites, and personal income tax rates upon the very wealthiest Americans was dramatically slashed to less than half the former rate – from 70% to 28%.

And then, there came cries and demands for liberty, and freedom from the tyranny of genuine governmental slavery in the form of, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” And truly, who could disagree? But that was quickly transformed into efforts to squelch personal liberty as healthcare decision-making in the most intimate of, and deeply personal matters involving reproduction, by providing opportunity for nosy neighbors (government) to tell others how they ought to run their lives according to the dictates of others’ religious convictions, all under the auspices of government.

Dissatisfied with that aspect of control, they sought to again meddle into the private lives of others – despite the fact that their private liberties were not encroached upon – and the sanction of committed legal relationships in the civil sector were forbidden to select individuals… just like it once was with ethnic minorities. And when in indignation they invited the SCOTUS to step in and rule (hopefully to their advantage, though contrary to their own religious writings), which ruled against their religiously-motivated (no religious test), publicly-sanctioned governmental discrimination (equal protection under law), they loudly cried ‘FOUL!’

And then, when more of their hand-picked, fair-haired children ruled against them, that rights were not absolute (D.C. v Heller), that not just anyone had a right to own, possess, or brandish any firearm, anywhere, at any time, they couldn’t stand it any more, and falsely accused the SCOTUS of partiality and of siding with their opponents whom they continuously maligned, despite the fact that they were ruled against by one of their own most staunch hard-liners.

Feeling emboldened, their most powerful, yet little-known instigator went public and said in part that, Read the rest of this entry »

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America Is Under Attack

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

FaceBook criticism is nothing new. In fact, there’s an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to it, which began, interestingly enough, in 2007 – a mere two years after the company, under CEO Mark Zuckerberg, settled a lawsuit with brothers Cameron, and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra claiming that he had stolen the idea for the company, which at the time was valued at US$10 Billion. It’s now worth more than 40 times that.

FaceBook’s IPO was May 21, 2012, opened selling at $26.21 per share, and now trades around the $150 mark. The last time it was near that price was June 12, 2017, while the highest it’s ever been was $190.28 on January 29, this year. So this momentary decline is a mere hiccough, or passing fancy of algorithmic computer-based trading, from which humans are largely excluded. FaceBook’s market capitalization, aka 
“market cap” is very nearly $450 billion, which is the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares.

Less than a year later, in 2013, FaceBook was resoundingly publicly criticized for not having protections in place to guard against online stalking, child sexual predators, and bullies after loosening restrictions on Read the rest of this entry »

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Members of Congress: Virtual American Royalty… At Taxpayer Expense

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, December 21, 2017

Members of Congress as virtual royalty,
have raised their pay 9 times over 9 years,
but raised Minimum Wage only 3 times in 18 years.
While Congress now pays themselves almost
3x the Median Household Income,
since 2000,
Inflation has totaled 37.4%.
And with 72% subsidies, Employer Contributions,
and other
luxurious perks unavailable to the Average Citizen,
including full Retirement Vestment after 5 years,
and 72% subsidy for Healthcare Insurance in Retirement,
their Healthcare is practically free.
And you’re paying for it.
But yours is not.
And you’re paying for it, too!

Members first received $6 a day in 1789, today they get $174,000 annually, in addition to phenomenal perks, health insurance, and retirement… all at taxpayer expense.

Presently, Congress also gets: Read the rest of this entry »

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Citizens United Ruling Violates Equal Protection Clause

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s true.

Folks don’t get mad because of falsehoods.

They get mad because of truth.

It’s true.

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

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

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On Executive Compensation

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

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

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

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

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Strain A Gnat, Swallow A Camel: How the Church has ignored Christian Principles to their peril

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 20, 2015

In 9 Sins the Church Is Okay With, Frank Powell asks “Are we changing the Bible to fit our culture or are we changing our culture to fit the Bible?”

“What if the big sins, you know the ones you try hardest to avoid, aren’t the greatest threat to your joy and the church’s mission?

“Maybe it’s the sins lying underneath, the ones considered normal or acceptable, the ones going undetected, that are affecting the church the most.”

His questions are, of course, spot on.

In fact, one could hardly argue with the evidence which consists of vast, tax-free empires built upon the backs of the faithful by the likes of:
Joel Osteen (USA) Net Worth $40 Million;
Robert Tilton (USA) Net Worth $830 Million;
Benny Hinn (USA) Net Worth $42 Million;
Joyce Meyer (USA) Net Worth $8 Million;
Kenneth Copeland (USA) Net Worth UNKNOWN (has claimed he’s a billionaire, no such public records exist documenting his claim);
Creflo Dollar (USA) Net Worth $27 Million;
Eddie Long (USA) Net Worth $5 Million;
Randy & Paula White (USA) Net Worth $2 Million;
Joseph Prince (Singapore) Net Worth $5 Million;
Chris Okotie (Nigeria) Net Worth $10 Million;
Matthew Ashimolowo of Nigeria Net Worth $10 Million;
T.B. Joshua (Nigeria) Net Worth $15 Million;
T. D. Jakes (USA) Net Worth $18 Million;
Paul (late) & Jan Crouch (USA) Net Worth (estimated TBN $1 Billion+);
Chris Oyakhilome (Nigeria) Net Worth $50 Million;
David Oyedepo (Nigeria) Net worth: $150 Million.

Obviously, their “prosperity gospel” message is working quite well for them.

For others, no so much.

And that’d probably cover Avarice, Hubris, and Boasting – or, if you prefer, Greed, Extravagance, and Pride.

But there again, our nation’s laws actually encourage greed through religion by not taxing churches. In fact, John Oliver recently pointed out that “U.S. tax law allows television preachers to get away with Read the rest of this entry »

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Sodomy: A prime example of what’s wrong with #ALpolitics

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

A dear friend who is a long-time retiree, aged 78 years, entire subsistence is from a meager pension (earned from a lifetime of work in a unionized organization), supplemented with a paltry Social Security check.

She’s lived through breast cancer surgery (mastectomy) & reconstruction, other major surgeries (knee replacements) and procedures, and lives in a trailer which she owns, situated upon a lot which she rents. She has resided there many, many years.

To save money, she recently Read the rest of this entry »

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Examining Right Wing Rhetoric in Memes

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 27, 2015

How accurate, or true are Right Wing statements?

How accurate, or true are Right Wing memes?

Regardless of one’s political beliefs, party affiliation, or ideological inclination, it’s always good to consider the truth of statements in memes that – like flotsam and jetsam – are dispersed throughout the Internet… particularly upon Social Media sites such as FaceBook, and Twitter. And unfortunately, in many cases, they are the veritable garbage, the effluent detritus of communication.

So… let’s examine some of the argument in the meme seen here, and see if it still holds water.

Government has necessary services, and provides the same.

Consider road construction as one example.

To create & build roads (which themselves increase opportunity) government must purchase things – raw materials, and manpower, among them.

Now… exactly where is any “government factory” for that, eh?

That’s correct – there is NONE.

EVERYTHING “we the people” by and through our government – at ALL LEVELS, Federal, State, and Local – purchase comes from the Private Sector!

EVERYTHING!

Consider also what may be the greatest example of Read the rest of this entry »

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The U.S. Economy In 6 Simple Pictures

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Picture #1:

It’s fairly explanatory. American corporations are making profits hand over fist. They’re making more profit now, than before the “Great Recession.” In fact, they’re making more than DOUBLE from their lowest during that time.

Corporate Profits After Tax

Corporate Profits After Tax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the rest of this entry »

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To What Extent is the American Economy Propped Up by Arms Sales?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What should one expect when the whole damn defense industry has been whored out to arm the krazees of the world?

In a very prophetic manner, in his Farewell Address to the nation, January 17, 1961, then-President Dwight David Eisenhower warned about the “military industrial complex,” saying:

“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.”

US sells $11 BILLION worth of arms to Qatar

Published time: July 15, 2014 09:46
Edited time: July 16, 2014 12:55

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar's Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah (C) arrive for a weapons sales signing ceremony at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

Washington and Doha have signed the largest arms deal of the year, preparing to enhance Qatar’s military capabilities with $11 billion-worth of Apache assault helicopters, PAC-2 missile defense complexes and Javelin man-portable anti-tank missiles.

The deal has been signed on Monday in Pentagon by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Qatari Defense Minister Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah. Altogether Qatar is buying 10 batteries of Patriot missile defense systems and 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles manufactured by US defense industry giants Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, and 24 Apache helicopters made by Boeing, an anonymous US official told the AFP.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Pitchfork in the Road: America’s Economic Future – Poverty & Insurrection, or Abundance & Peace?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 28, 2014

“How much is enough?” is a qood question to ask many folks, especially some among the Wall $treet crowd.

And to be certain, the two principles of “the worker is worthy of their hire,” and “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain” are equally compelling ethics.

As those two ethics concern our nation’s economy, we can point to times in history where various nations suffered revolution, and the most common causes of revolution.

In fact, I wrote at length about it in this blog in 2011, and observed in part that, “…it’s not as if uproars have never happened before. They happen with great regularity and frequency. In fact, they’re quite predictable. Yes, predictable. It’s called “history.” The maxim goes something like this: “Those who forget the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.” And so, any reasonable or prudent person should ask, “What are the lessons of history?””

Just remember this: Food, Clothing, Shelter. If you can’t get them with what you have, you’ll fight, kill, go to war, or civil insurrection, to obtain the basic necessities of life.

The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats

By NICK HANAUER
Nick Hanauer is a Seattle-based entrepreneur.

July/August 2014

Memo: From Nick Hanauer
To: My Fellow Zillionaires

You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud. But I saw pretty quickly, even back then, that many of my customers, the big department store chains, were already doomed. I knew that as soon as the Internet became fast and trustworthy enough—and that time wasn’t far off—people were going to shop online like crazy. Goodbye, Caldor. And Filene’s. And Borders. And on and on.

Nick Hanauer

Nick Hanauer
With over 30 years of experience across a broad range of industries including manufacturing, retailing, e-commerce, digital media and advertising, software, aerospace, health care, and finance. Hanauer’s experience and perspective have produced an unusual record of serial successes. Hanauer has managed, founded or financed over 30 companies, creating aggregate market value of tens of billions of dollars. Some notable companies Include Amazon.com, Aquantive Inc., (purchased by Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion), Insitu group (purchased by Boeing for $400 million), Market Leader (purchased by Trulia in 2013 for $350 million). Some other companies include Marchex, Newsvine, Qliance, Seattle Bank and Pacific Coast Feather Company. – Photo by Robbie McClaran

Realizing that, seeing over the horizon a little faster than the next guy, was the strategic part of my success. The lucky part was that I had two friends, both immensely talented, who also saw a lot of potential in the web. One was a guy you’ve probably never heard of named Jeff Tauber, and the other was a fellow named Jeff Bezos. I was so excited by the potential of the web that I told both Jeffs that I wanted to invest in whatever they launched, big time. It just happened that the second Jeff—Bezos—called me back first to take up my investment offer. So I helped underwrite his tiny start-up bookseller. The other Jeff started a web department store called Cybershop, but at a time when trust in Internet sales was still low, it was too early for his high-end online idea; people just weren’t yet ready to buy expensive goods without personally checking them out (unlike a basic commodity like books, which don’t vary in quality—Bezos’ great insight). Cybershop didn’t make it, just another dot-com bust. Amazon did somewhat better. Now I own a very large yacht.

But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

At the same time that people like you and me are Read the rest of this entry »

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Who Pays Unskilled Labor US $80,000/year?!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 22, 2014

“For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”
-1Tim5:18

Lately, much has been made of raising the Minimum Wage, which does nothing more than establish a minimum standard.

But who cares about minimums?

We should strive to exceed!

Some well-known, publicly-traded, highly profitable firms, however, revel in greed, and wallow in the slop, when they can do far better for the employees who operate their businesses.

The question is often asked “why pay unskilled workers $10 or even more per hour?”

It’s a valid question, and deserves a genuinely thoughtful response.

So, let’s pose that question to BIG OIL COMPANIES in Williston, North Dakota, where…

“oilfield companies pay unskilled 19 year-olds $80,000 a year.”

 

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/mall-middle-what-used-be-nowhere

by Dan Weissmann
Monday, June 16, 2014 – 15:21

Williston, North Dakota, has the nation’s highest rents. Thanks to the fracking boom, a basic apartment in Williston costs more than something similar in New York or San Francisco. And it comes with a lot fewer amenities.

For instance, shopping. If Walmart doesn’t have it, the nearest outlet is at least two hours away. Now, a Swiss investment firm has announced plans to Read the rest of this entry »

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BIG OIL’s Corrupting Influence in American Politics: Propping up Corrupt Regimes to Prop Up Profits

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 7, 2014

Report

Slick Moves

The SEC could help tackle corruption in resource-rich countries around the world — but the oil industry is getting in the way.

Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, is regarded as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. And American oil lobbyists are only making the situation worse: They are exploiting Angola by seeking to delay and weaken the implementation of a crucial U.S. transparency law.

That law, Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, also known as the Cardin-Lugar amendment, promises a breakthrough in preventing dirty deals and illicit payments being made for natural resources around the world, similar to the shady transaction recently uncovered by Foreign Policy. If implemented fully, the law would make U.S. oil and mining companies disclose the payments they make to governments across the world, including in Angola. However, oil lobbyists have been making misguided arguments that laws in Angola and three other countries prevent the required disclosures.

Off Shore Oil Drilling Rig

Off Shore Oil Drilling Rig – MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

Angolan officials secretly profiting from the country’s oil riches is not a surprise. It is only the latest episode in a sad history that goes back for decades. Global Witness, where we work, began exposing the complicity of the international oil and banking industries in the plundering of state assets during Angola’s 40-year civil war in our 1999 report A Crude Awakening. This was followed by our 2002 report All the Presidents’ Men, which called on the oil companies operating in Angola to “Publish What You Pay” (PWYP). Under this rallying call, Global Witness co-launched the PWYP campaign, which is now an international coalition of more than 790 civil society organizations in over 60 countries, including Angola, advocating for transparency laws such as Section 1504.

These efforts are intended to prevent scandals similar to the Trafigura deal covered in Foreign Policy, which provide a glimpse of the endemic corruption in Angola‘s oil industry. Only a few days before Foreign Policy published its story, media reports about leaked documents relating to other corruption claims caused the share price of SBM Offshore, a Dutch oil services company operating in Angola, to plummet 17.9 percent when markets opened. SBM released a statement challenging the validity of the leaked documents, saying that they are partial, taken out of context, contain outdated information, and are not representative of the facts. SBM had also already disclosed to its investors that it was conducting an internal investigation into questionable payments in Angola. However, the dramatic stock drop suggests that SBM investors had not anticipated the scale of the corruption risk exposure.

Another oil services company active in Angola, Weatherford International, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and headquartered in Switzerland, has recently pleaded guilty to violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), including bribery of the executives of Sonangol, Angola’s state oil company. It has agreed to pay fines of $253 million to settle the case, one of the largest FCPA settlements ever.

These cases illustrate the urgent need for transparency in Angola’s oil sector. The successful implementation of Read the rest of this entry »

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American Entitlement Culture

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 10, 2013

Recently, I happened across an item which read “When they analyze the demise of western society due to the entitlement epidemic, it’ll trace back to giving kids awards just for showing up.”

Of course, it can sometimes be difficult to discern sarcasm when reading, and I rather suspect there is at least a smidgen of sarcasm in that brief remark.

Sarcasm, of course, can, and is often used to convey a truth, or truths about numerous subjects, and is a teaching tool, as well.

Because I often use dictionaries to aid my understanding, I chose to look up the definition of the word “entitlement.” Here’s what I found:
As a verb, to “entitle” is to give someone a legal right, or a just claim to receive or do something.

For example, in the United States, the First Amendment is an entitlement to Read the rest of this entry »

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How much is enough? A guide to dissatisfaction & satiety.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 9, 2013

Late Southern humorist & columnist Lewis Grizzard once wrote a book entitled “Elvis is dead, and I don’t feel so good myself.” The title seems apropos, especially since economics is colloquially known as “the dismal science.” 

And then, there’s former Soviet Union premier Nikita Khrushchev who once famously said during the early stages of the Cold War in 1956, “We will bury you!

Either way, it means somebody’s gonna’ die.

Considering the implications, however, I ask these questions:

How many beds can a man sleep in at once? How many meals does he need before he is full? In how many cars can he ride at once? In how many showers can he bathe at once? How many shoes can he wear at once? In how many houses can he live at once?

How much is enough?

A pessimist’s guide to the Great Recession

Review by Ferdinando Giugliano
June 9, 2013 4:36 pm
A provocative critique of policy makers’ response to the economic crisis

When the Money Runs Out: The End of Western Affluence,
by Stephen King, Yale University Press, RRP£20/RRP$30

Academic debates over the right policy response are one of the few abundant commodities during an economic crisis. Just as in the 1930s and 1970s, the financial crisis that began in the late 2000s has divided economists into two camps. The neo-Keynesian troops have Read the rest of this entry »

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Do We Now Know Enough About Mitt Romney’s Taxes?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 28, 2012

MAKING SEN$E — September 28, 2012 at 5:04 PM EST

Do We Now Know Enough About Mitt Romney’s Taxes?

By: Paul Solman

US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at a town hall meeting at Central High School in Grand Junction, Colorado, on July 10, 2012, where he said he has ‘nothing hidden’ in his taxes. Photo by: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

It’s hard enough to figure out my own taxes every year without having to worry about Mitt Romney’s. But because the issue of Romney’s taxes has come to loom so large, I thought I’d better get some professional advice. So I sought out a friend, estate planning lawyer Matthew Berlin, who has modest clients like me as well as the high and well-heeled, some of them with assets abroad. I asked him if we now knew all we need to know, at least with respect to the tax returns Mitt Romney has disclosed publicly.

No, said Matthew. There are a host of questions that any inquiring tax attorney or journalist might ask. Without them, a true picture of Romney’s finances would be impossible. So I asked Matthew if he wouldn’t share the questions with us. Here they are: Read the rest of this entry »

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IRS pays whistleblower $104 Million for exposing wealthy tax cheats

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 11, 2012

English: United States Internal Revenue Servic...

United States Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Special Agent badge

To know the truth is good, even though what may be revealed might not be good.

The über-wealthy & super-rich can run, but they cannot hide.

If anything, this perfectly illustrates the need for strong regulation.

IRS pays whistleblower $104 million

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER

— Sep. 11 10:58 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for a whistleblower say the Internal Revenue Service has awarded their client $104 million for providing information about overseas tax cheats — the largest amount ever awarded by the agency.

Ex-Swiss banker Bradley Birkenfeld is credited with exposing widespread tax evasion at Swiss bank UBS AG. Birkenfeld himself Read the rest of this entry »

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Wall Street Journal on @MittRomney policy plan & R’ObamaCare Mitt-Flop

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

Do tell.

WSJ chides Romney for too few policy details

By MAGGIE HABERMAN|

9/10/12 10:11 PM EDT

The WSJ editorial page weighs in on Mitt Romney‘s Obamacare response on Meet the Press, and the subsequent clean-up:

When Mitt Romney ventures into health care, political trouble usually follows. So it went this weekend, as the GOP standard-bearer made his own policy sound worse than it is.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the Republican was asked what he would do about people with pre-existing medical conditions who would supposedly “no longer be guaranteed health care” if he repeals the Affordable Care Act. “I say we’re going to replace ObamaCare,” Mr. Romney replied. “And I’m replacing it with my own plan,” without defining the substance of his own agenda.

When pressed, Mr. Romney said that “I’m not getting rid of all of health-care reform. (That would be the liberal euphemism for ObamaCare.) Of course, there are a number of things that I like in health-care reform Read the rest of this entry »

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Pharmaceutical Firms Lie, Cheat & Steal from America’s Elderly, Orphans, Poor and Helpless

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, September 8, 2012

A few points for the reader to consider:
This fraud was national in scope, involving a $3 BILLION settlement, of which the North Carolina Attorney General was able to recoup $31.8M. Pfizer, Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Forest Labs, Eli Lilly, Astrazeneca have also all plead guilty to deceptive and fraudulent marketing. It’s very likely a drop in the bucket in comparison with the greater scope.

The four most expensive Pharmacy frauds in the United States history have occurred since George W. Bush oversaw the rewriting of the Medicare Part D drug benefit in 2003. In order of their value, they are:
GlaxoSmithKline – $3 Billion, 2012
Pfizer – $2.3 Billion, 2009
Abbott Laboratories – $1.5 Billion, 2012
Eli Lilly – $1.4 Billion, 2009

The so-called “doughnut hole” in the Medicare prescription Part D drug plan was closed by President Obama. That “doughnut hole” was created under the George W. Bush administration, who caved in to lobbyists from BIG PHARMA, and allowed them to write much of that aspect of the 2003 revision of the Medicare Part D law (also known as the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA), and refused to allow Medicaid the opportunity to bargain for prices with pharmaceutical firms.

Advertising is expensive. Advertising for medications on television, radio, Internet, magazines, billboards, buses, and any other place where advertising is sold, is illegal in some nations. It was once illegal in the United States, until the 1980’s when the FDA OK’d it under pressure from the Reagan administration.

IMS Health, a medical data firm, calculates that drug companies’ business in the United States alone earns more than $300 billion a year.

Last year, GSK had $20 Billion gross profits on $27 Billion in revenue. So don’t let anyone EVER fool you into believing that drug companies don’t make enough money, don’t have enough profits, or enough profit margin.

Pharmaceutical companies spent Read the rest of this entry »

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Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 2, 2012

Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

How the GOP presidential candidate and his private equity firm staged an epic wealth grab, destroyed jobs – and stuck others with the bill

by: Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone 20120827-mitt-romney-x306-1346104394

Mitt Romney illustration / Illustration by Robert Grossman

The great criticism of Mitt Romney, from both sides of the aisle, has always been that he doesn’t stand for anything. He’s a flip-flopper, they say, a lightweight, a cardboard opportunist who’ll say anything to get elected.

The critics couldn’t be more wrong. Mitt Romney is no tissue-paper man. He’s closer to being a revolutionary, a backward-world version of Che or Trotsky, with tweezed nostrils instead of a beard, a half-Windsor instead of a leather jerkin. His legendary flip-flops aren’t the lies of a bumbling opportunist – they’re the confident prevarications of a man untroubled by misleading the nonbeliever in pursuit of a single, all-consuming goal. Romney has a vision, and he’s trying for something big: We’ve just been too slow to sort out what it is, just as we’ve been slow to grasp the roots of the radical economic changes that have swept the country in the last generation.

The incredible untold story of the 2012 election so far is that Romney’s run has been a shimmering pearl of perfect political hypocrisy, which he’s somehow managed to keep hidden, even with thousands of cameras following his every move. And the drama of this rhetorical high-wire act was ratcheted up even further when Romney chose his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – like himself, a self-righteously anal, thin-lipped, Whitest Kids U Know penny pincher who’d be honored to tell Oliver Twist there’s no more soup left. By selecting Ryan, Romney, the hard-charging, chameleonic champion of a disgraced-yet-defiant Wall Street, officially succeeded in moving the battle lines in the 2012 presidential race.

Like John McCain four years before, Romney desperately needed a vice-presidential pick that would change the game. But where McCain bet on a combustive mix of clueless novelty and suburban sexual tension named Sarah Palin, Romney bet on an idea. He said as much when he unveiled his choice of Ryan, the author of a hair-raising budget-cutting plan best known for its willingness to slash the sacred cows of Medicare and Medicaid. “Paul Ryan has become an intellectual leader of the Republican Party,” Romney told frenzied Republican supporters in Norfolk, Virginia, standing before the reliably jingoistic backdrop of a floating warship. “He understands the fiscal challenges facing America: our exploding deficits and crushing debt.”

Debt, debt, debt. If the Republican Party had a James Carville, this is what he would have said to win Mitt over, in whatever late-night war room session led to the Ryan pick: “It’s the debt, stupid.” This is the way to defeat Barack Obama: to recast the race as a jeremiad against debt, something just about everybody who’s ever gotten a bill in the mail hates on a primal level.

Last May, in a much-touted speech in Iowa, Romney Read the rest of this entry »

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Bain Capital among firms subpoenaed by NY AG – suspected of tax evasion

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, September 2, 2012

The noose tightens.

UPDATE 2-New York probes private equity tax strategy – source

Sun Sep 2, 2012 8:00am IST

* NY AG subpoenas at least 12 private equity firms
* AG probing conversion of fees into fund investments
* Bain, Romney’s former firm, among those subpoenaed
* KKR, Apollo, Silver Lake, TPG also get subpoenas

By Karen Freifeld and Greg Roumeliotis

Sept 1 (Reuters) – At least a dozen U.S. private equity firms have been subpoenaed by the New York state attorney general as part of a probe into whether a widely used tax strategy that saved these firms hundreds of millions of dollars is proper, a source familiar with the situation said on Saturday.

Among the firms that were subpoenaed are Bain Capital LLC, KKR & Co LP, TPG Capital LP, Apollo Global Management LLC and Silver Lake Partners LP, the source said.

Bain was once headed by Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate who hopes to unseat President Barack Obama in the Nov. 6 election.

The subpoenas, which were sent out in July, seek documents related to Read the rest of this entry »

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