Kirsten Gillibrand Announces Presidential Exploratory Committee

In the first of what will likely be many of these posts, I thought I’d share details about the Democrats that will be challenging the Republicans – and presumably President Trump in 2020.

First up – Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (her website

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced on Tuesday that she will form a 2020 presidential exploratory committee, a precursor to officially seeking the Democratic nomination.

“I’m filing an exploratory committee for the president of the United States tonight,” she said during a taped interview on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”

Gillibrand mentioned health care, better public schools, taking on institutional racism and “corruption and greed in Washington” as motivators and goals for her run.

“I know that I have the compassion, courage and the fearless determination to get that done,” she said.

Asked by Colbert as to whether what she was doing was a formality for actually running, she said: “It’s an important first step. It’s one that I’m taking because I’m going to run.”

The Senator was also asked about swearing on the campaign trail and she said she’d try not to do so. When Colbert asked what word she’d miss the most, Gillibrand joked that it “rhymes with duck.”

He proceeded to give her a corn cob for a trip to Iowa, a plane ticket to Michigan and a button saying she announced on Colbert.

Using Colbert’s late-night show as the avenue to announce news is not all that uncommon among prospective candidates. In November 2018, following her easy Senate re-election, where she actually over-performed the result for the state’s House Democrats and performed well in rural pro-Trump counties, Gillibrand told Colbert that she would give serious consideration to running for president. More recently, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) made an appearance on the show as part of her book tour, though she did not officially commit to running. She is widely expected to launch her bid soon.

There had been indications, prior to her Colbert appearance, that Gillibrand was launching a campaign. Just four days ago, The New York Times reported that she recruited aides from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the former digital director for recently-elected California Governor Gavin Newsom. Gillibrand is also reportedly set to visit Iowa this weekend and her camp has signed a lease for office space in Troy, New York, where she lives and where the campaign will be headquartered.

The 52-year-old New York Democrat joins a broad field of candidates that will likely expand through the end of January until the end of the first fundraising quarter.

On New Year’s Eve, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) announced the formation of her exploratory committee, which was quickly followed by a trip to Iowa and more recently a New Hampshire swing. This past Friday, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) said on CNN that she will soon formally announce a run. She was followed Saturday by an official presidential announcement from former HUD Secretary Julian Castro. Those candidates are in addition to Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), the first declared candidate who has been traveling early primary states; and former West Virginia state senator and congressional candidate Richard Ojeda.

But Gillibrand—who was appointed to fill a Senate vacancy when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009—is one of the more high-profile names to enter the field, at least among progressives. Before holding office, Gillibrand was an attorney and forged a relationship with Clinton while the latter ran for Senate in 2000.

In 2006, Gillibrand defeated Republican incumbent John E. Sweeney to represent New York’s 20th congressional district, an area including Albany and Schenectady counties that traditionally leaned conservative. She easily won re-election despite questions in both campaigns about Gillibrand’s prior legal representation of the tobacco giant Philip Morris and contributions she received from the industry.

During her tenure in the House, Gillibrand was part of the Blue Dog Coalition, voting in favor of legislation that would withhold funds from sanctuary cities and opposing amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Additionally, she advertised on her website that she had a 100-percent voting record with the National Rifle Association.

For those just getting acquainted with Gillibrand in the Trump era, in which she has voted with the president’s position less than 12 percent of the time (the lowest among her colleagues), her past views may come as a surprise.

She was confronted with her ideological shift during a 60 Minutes segment last February, explaining how she went from having an “A” rating from the NRA to an “F.”

“I went down to Brooklyn to meet with families who had suffered from gun violence in their communities,” Gillibrand recounted. “And you immediately experience the feeling that I couldn’t have been more wrong—you know, I only had the lens of upstate New York.”

She went on to say that she was “embarrassed” because she had in fact lived in New York City for a decade.

On immigration, the New York Democrat explained her shift: “I came from a district that was 98 percent white,” Gillibrand said. “We have immigrants, but not a lot of immigrants… And I just didn’t take the time to understand why these issues mattered because it wasn’t right in front of me. And that was my fault. It was something that I’m embarrassed about and I’m ashamed of.”

Gillibrand’s recent Senate tenure has been defined by this forthright, confrontational approach, one that has—at times—pitted her against powerful members of her own party. In Dec. 2017, she was the first Democratic senator to call for the resignation of her colleague Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) after he was accused of sexual misconduct. After Gillibrand’s initial statement, a number of her colleagues joined in and eventually forced his ouster.

She had also recently said that President Bill Clinton should have resigned following the revelation of his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky, a statement that put her at odds with the political family she had been so closely aligned with throughout her career.

These flashpoints lent added credibility to Gillibrand’s cultivated reputation as an advocate for women and sexual-assault victims. She has pushed legislation on sexual assault in the military and on college campuses and more recently served as a lead sponsor of the Me Too Congress Act, which aimed to ease the process for victims within Congress to come forward. And prior to that, nearly as soon as she entered the Senate, Gillibrand secured hearings on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” for the first time in 16 years.

It was her recent action against Franken that was taken especially hard by Democratic donors, whose animus could actually prove useful for Gillibrand in a 2020 Democratic primary: As a handful of mega-donors have griped about her role in torpedoing the Minnesota Democrat’s career, Gillibrand’s small-dollar contributions have spiked. She raised more than $27 million in the 2018 cycle with $8.2 million coming from online contributions, with an average donation of $20. Gillibrand has also raised millions for women candidates via her Off the Sidelines PAC, with some 50 supported candidates winning in the 2018 cycle.

She has also co-sponsored Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) Medicare for All legislation, backed Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) Marijuana Justice Act, swore off corporate PAC contributions and said last year that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) needs to be dismantled.

“I believe that it has become a deportation force,” she told CNN at the time. “And I think you should separate out the criminal justice from the immigration issues. And I think you should reimagine ICE under a new agency with a very different mission and take those two missions out. So we believe that we should protect families that need our help and that is not what ICE is doing today. And that’s why I believe you should get rid of it, start over, reimagine it and build something that actually works.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.


Sharing a Rant Over the Current Political Climate

I’m sharing this post from a friend of mine – we’ll let her be known as “A Patriot Grandmother”.

To tell you a little about her… The writer is a wife, mother, grandmother, author and political observer.


Be warned. I’m about to go on a rant. Probably a long rant. So, you might just want to keep scrolling. Nothing to see here. Nothing new anyway. Same old stuff. Same old destructive garbage that’s been dividing the American people and destroying our trust in our country and one another. Exactly what is that garbage? I think it’s hatred, agendas and flat-out lies. I think we, as a society, are losing the willingness to try to understand other points of view much less empathize with them. And the election of Donald Trump seems to have shown a spotlight on that inability.

I did not vote for Barack Obama. And yet for eight years I fully believed that he was my President and I hoped that he would make decisions that were in the best interest of the country, not just the Democratic Party or his own political career. One can always hope, right? I have read what many of you have written about your belief that the Obama family was delightful to have in the White House and without scandal. I actually agree with some of that. The Obama daughters seem to be delightful, articulate, accomplished young women. As a family, they did appear to be without scandal personally. Professionally and politically, however, the Obama Administration was far from scandal free. I have no intention of citing those scandals here. I simply want to do a little comparing and contrasting.

While Barack Obama was in office the Democrats in the House, Senate and Media repeatedly told the American people that Republicans were obstructionists if they didn’t go along with and vote for every policy and bill put forth by the Democrats. If Republicans, Conservatives or your average Joe or Josephine disagreed with an Obama policy they were called hate-mongering, knuckle-dragging racists. While George W. Bush was President they considered it patriotic to disagree with the President and his Administration. Disagreement with Obama however, was punishable by severe name-calling and shunning. Enter Donald Trump. And the Left has changed the narrative, again. It’s cool, once more, to “resist”, to stand up to the evil that has taken over our government. Well, I’m resisting your resistance and waving the BS Flag.

Donald Trump calls the left-leaning-media to task, accuses them of being partisan, having an agenda, downplaying stories that put the Right in a good light and spotlighting the ones that make the Left look righteous. Hmmm? I’ve heard all that before, except it was Obama saying the exact same things about the right-leaning-media. He wanted Fox News removed from the White House Press Corps. For months and years, he refused to call on any right-leaning media representatives in his press conferences. He ignored them and their questions and seldom agreed to be interviewed by any of their news people or pundits. He said Fox News was not a legitimate news organization and that they were destructive to the growth of the country. You know what I think is really destructive to the growth of our country? Left and right leaning media promoting their agendas.

Another example. Kellyann Conway and her use of the word massacre. How many times a day can the Left Wing Media replay that video? Clearly often enough to make everyone on the planet believe that Kellyanne Conway is a lying sack of blithering incompetence. “She should know better. What an idiot.” Okay. Shouldn’t our President know how many states we have? Simple question with a straightforward answer. Go to YouTube and type in “President Obama says we have 57 states.” Huh? Guess I must have slept through seven of them. Blithering incompetent or exhausted and misspoke? The difference? The Left Leaning Media didn’t shove that video down our throats by the hour. Their guy got a pass. They pick and choose who they promote and who the skewer. I happen to believe that both were exhausted and had a word-slip. Goodness knows I slip up and I understand that other people do as well.

Now, let’s make a distinction between a word-slip and a straight up lie. Fifty, not fifty-seven = word-slip. Massacre, not terrorists = word-slip. “I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.” Straight up lie. Never happened. None of it. How about “We’ve seen rage and violence directed at our embassies because of an awful Internet video.” Word- slip or straight up lie? You decide.

And then Hollywood jumps on the “Resistance Bandwagon” and Meryl Streep goes on her well-publicized tirade. “What bravery.” “What courage.” “Truth to power.” I’m scratching my head saying, “What bravery?” “What courage?” “Truth to power?” Meryl Streep IS the power in Hollywood and she was speaking to a group of predominantly like-minded people. What courage did that take? For future reference, Meryl. Please just learn to say, “Thank you” graciously.

Compare and contrast. So, here’s my example of truth to power. Her name is Patricia Smith. Who is she? She is Sean Smith’s mother. Sean Smith was murdered in Benghazi. Patricia Smith had no money, no power, no influence, no connections, no authority, no platform. She had only her voice and her convictions. And she took on the Secretary of State, the Obama Administration and the Clinton Machine. Why? Because she wanted the truth about what happened to Sean. She wanted justice for her son. She didn’t want what happened to her child to happen to anyone else’s. So, she stood up. She spoke. She demanded answers. And she was vilified by the Left for it. But she didn’t let that stop her. Courage. Bravery. Truth to power.

I happen to believe in our Constitution and in our system of checks and balances. That system gives the authority to write law and change law to the Legislative Branch of government. That means the Congress and Senate should be responsible for enacting new laws. Our system also gives the President (the Executive Branch) the authority to, from time to time, write laws using Executive Orders or Executive Memorandums. It does not, however give that authority to the Judicial Branch. That means judges are responsible for UPHOLDING the law, not changing it. President Trump starts issuing Executive Orders and the Left goes crazy. I’ve read several posts questioning whether or not the current President understands the Constitution and who has the authority to write law. I wondered the same thing during President Obama’s two terms in office. Look at the number of Executive Orders and Memorandums that he wrote. Look at the number George W. Bush wrote. And check out Bill Clinton’s whopping numbers. The precedent is set, people. If you don’t want someone from the other team taking the law into his own hands, then you can’t let your guy do it either. No one gets to have it both ways.

And while we’re on the subject of who has the authority to do what…where on earth, or in the Constitution, did Michelle Obama get the authority to change dietary policy in our public schools and our military? Her involvement with nutrition actually cost the taxpayers money! Schools had to meet her dietary guidelines. Many complained that it was costing them more, they were throwing away too much of it and had hungry kids going home at the end of the day. For some of those children school was the primary source of their daily meals.

Michelle’s food initiative also changed the “chow” in the military “chow halls”. I attended a Basic Training graduation in 2010 right after the changes were implemented and had the chance to talk to some of the graduates. Let’s just say that many of them were not happy campers. Basic Training is grueling mind and body training. Imagine yourself doing hours of classwork, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, obstacle courses and forced marches. Every day for roughly ten weeks. Now imagine not being fed enough to have the strength and stamina to do that. I heard more than one graduate say, “The Chow Hall sucks. Thanks, Mrs. Obama.” The First Lady. A powerful role model and spokesperson, but NOT an elected or appointed official. So where did she get the authority to change policy? You might want to hope that this doesn’t set another precedent because you’re not going to like it when the other side does it.

Speaking of not liking it… when the Right didn’t like President Obama’s policies, they protested them. There were protests all over the country that were completely nonviolent and without profanity or demonizing of the Left. There was one in Washington DC that close to a million people attended. The media and President Obama largely ignored those protests. Why? Maybe so they could focus on the handful of protestors who truly were violent racists. Then they painted everyone who disagreed with the President with the same brush. Now, the Left disagrees with President Trump. Some of the protests are nonviolent and make their points admirably. Many, however, are straight-up riots. There is an attitude of entitled lawlessness that has taken over this country. Once more, is a precedent being set? My way or you can watch the place burn down around you?

Now let’s talk about free speech for a minute. Safe zones so you don’t have to hear things you don’t want to hear, shouting down guest speakers you don’t agree with, name-calling and demonizing those who voice politically incorrect ideas and opinions. Seriously? Do you not see that all those behaviors are destroying free speech? And guess what? We have Freedom OF Speech, not Freedom FROM Speech. That means that I can speak from the Left or the Right, about religion or atheism. I can talk about Pollyanna or the devil. I can be kind or offensive. If you do not like what I have to say, you have the right to walk away. You do NOT have the right to stop me from saying it. I hear many people talking about their fear of losing their right to free speech. Everyone in this country has been losing that right for years. But no one cared, as long as they agreed with what people were being told not to say. If we want the right to speak freely, we must give the right to speak freely. Even if we find it offensive.

I’ve seen several posts recently offering ideas for confronting bullies, particularly those bullying Muslims. Bullying of any sort is unacceptable. That means Muslims, Jews, Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, children, teenagers, adults, Democrats, Republicans, Hillary Supporters, Trump Supporters, Liberals or Conservatives, Vegans and Meat Eaters! I’ve seen zero videos of Muslims being bullied since Donald Trump’s election but I’ve seen several of Trump supporters being yelled at, harassed, spit on and even beaten. Some of the antibullying suggestions will work very well in those situations.

Some of them might even be applicable to the bullying I’ve seen on FB the last couple of years. Check your Newsfeed. Look at the last time someone turned their back on their child at the zoo for just a moment and that child fell…into a gorilla cage or a pond. The vile, hateful comments are beyond belief. On the worst days of people’s lives, the scars they are left with are not just the memory of what they did do, didn’t do or could have done. Now, it’s also the memory of the judgmental cyber hatred that rained down on them while they went through it. We are becoming a nation of faceless bullies, brave enough only to be nasty from behind a computer keyboard. Wake up, people! The Left says “Love Trumps Hate”. But all I see is hate. And it’s not trumping anything.

Rant over.

Why Use the Phrase Radical Islam – Its So Simple

Over the last seven and a half years we’ve heard that it is wrong to use the phrase “radical Islam” and “radical Jihadist” from President Obama and people within the Obama administration. Last week we got a televised rant or temper tantrum from the “bully pulpit” of the president about his perspective on how ludicrous it is for people to use these phrases when describing terror attacks on the United States. I’ve bitten my tongue about this stupidity most every time he’s gone on the warpath about it, but I had an epiphany that explains it so simply that I had to share.

In order to wrap your mind around this concept, first you need to think like a coach. Let’s think like a high school football coach who is preparing for a weekly game. First, you want to prepare your team for the game. You want your team to win and you want to know as much about the challenger as possible. First you look at the schedule to see who you’re playing. You identify the team, you review the players, the coaches, their strategies, the plays they use against other teams – what works and what doesn’t, which players are the strongest and what are their weakenesses.

You do all these things not because you want a participation ribbon at the end of the day – but because you want to WIN. Your team and your fans want and NEED a win. Just like the US wants and NEEDS a win against the terrorists who threaten our way or life and our lives.

Any coach who doesn’t know what team they are playing, who doesn’t prepare their team and who doesn’t help their team do sufficient preparation for any confrontation or “game” – is leading them into a potential downfall. At a high school game its only a game – but the president as the Commander in Chief has a much more crucial role. Seems to me its way past time for him and his administration to suit up, we are NOT facing the JV team. We need to identify the enemy, call them by name, and study them so that we can defeat them. Its time for us to go on offense instead of getting lost in the backfield and coming up short on 4th down.

Your South Carolina Field Guide

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South Carolina – First in the South Primary 
The polls say this should be a great day for Donald Trump – a big victory to ratify his status as the GOP frontrunner and a harbinger of future successes in the so-called “SEC primary” on March 1.

But the polls have gotten a little screwy in the final days of the “first in the South” primary, with Marco Rubio nipping past Ted Cruz in some surveys. Trump’s dominance, however, hasn’t been cast in much doubt.

His margin of victory matters, though. Given the resistance to Trump’s nomination in many quarters of the party, a big win would be a big boost. The message from a Trump double-digit win: Resistance is futile. But if Trump stubs his toe and ends up with a narrow victory, it would only embolden his detractors.

With those high stakes in mind, the polls aren’t enough to get a grasp on what’s really happening down South.

South Carolina Primary:
–50 total delegates
–26 at-large awarded to the state’s overall winner plus the state’s 3 automatic delegates
–21 congressional district delegates, 3 from each of the 7 total districts
–Open primary
–605,623 ballots cast in 2012
–Newt Gingrich, 40 percent, Mitt Romney, 28 percent, Rick Santorum, 17 percent, Ron Paul, 13 percent
–Polls close at 7 p.m. ET

[Watch Fox: Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier bring you the latest results from the South Carolina Primary tonight at 7 p.m. ET]

This is not the South Carolina of palmetto trees and ocean breezes. This is Appalachia and very much part of what Michael Barone calls “The Jacksonian Belt.”
Voters here are famous dissenters and have long prided themselves on their stubborn independence.

But the Upstate of South Carolina is also fastest growing region of the state. The counties of Greenville and Spartanburg are home to big businesses like Bank of America, 3M and BMW.

For all the changes, the Upstate is true to its political roots. The region is one of the most politically conservative and most religiously observant throughout the South.

The more populous counties of the upstate region should be Ted Cruz’s space. These are the most conservative voters in the state and have social issues on their mind. As the son of a preacher, and self-proclaimed defender of conservativism, Cruz relates well to these voters. In order to hold on to a second-place finish, Cruz needs to win in the more populated ares.

But Marco Rubio has a chance with these voters too. He is also a strong conservative who has been touting his family values throughout the state enough that he could siphon off some support from Cruz.

In less populated regions of the Upstate, however, it’s Trump territory. Counties like Anderson County are manufacturing areas, but haven’t felt the economic boom of the larger areas like Greenville just yet. This makes them more open to someone who says he’ll protect their jobs from going overseas.

Greenville County
· Population: 482,752
· Median household income: $49,022
· Race: Caucasian, 76 percent; black, 19 percent
· Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 31 percent
· 2012 general election: Romney 63 percent
· Residents age 65 and older: 14 percent
· South Carolina’s most populous county

2012 Republican Primary result: Newt Gingrich, 40 percent; Mitt Romney, 25 percent; Rick Santorum, 18 percent; Ron Paul 16 percent

Spartanburg County
· Population: 293,542
· Median household income: $42,919
· Race: Caucasian, 75 percent; black, 21 percent
· Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 21 percent
· 2012 general election: Romney 61 percent
· Residents age 65 and older: 15 percent
· Spartanburg County is considered the crossroads of the Revolutionary War for the Southeast.

2012 Republican Primary result: Newt Gingrich, 40 percent; Mitt Romney, 22 percent; Rick Santorum, 21 percent; Ron Paul, 15 percent

Anderson County
· Population: 192, 810
· Median household income: $41,579
· Race: Caucasian, 80 percent; black, 16 percent
· Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 19 percent
· 2012 general election: Romney 67 percent
· Residents age 65 or older: 17 percent
· Lake Hartwell, a giant man-made reservoir built in the 1950s, is home to some of the best sport fishing in the southeast, particularly for striped bass

2012 Republican Primary result: Newt Gingrich, 44 percent; Mitt Romney, 22 percent; Ron Paul, 17 percent; Rick Santorum, 16 percent

Home to the state’s capital, Columbia, the University of South Carolina and a major military training hub, this region is fittingly somewhere on the political spectrum between the red-hot Jacksonian populism of the Upstate and the cooler political climate on the coast.

The city center and more affluent suburbs stand to be one of the biggest troves of votes for Marco Rubio. The Florida senator has paid plenty of attention to the region, often putting his plan for increased military spending front and center.

The Midlands is also home to the state’s best Republican bellwether, Lexington County, which includes part of Columbia and much of its suburbs, but also rural voters. A Republican stronghold, Lexington has picked the state’s Republican primary winner the past three presidential election cycles.

Communities farther from the population center are Trump territory. These are some of the poorest counties in South Carolina, with large African-American populations – the kinds of places polls have shown Trump excelling with blue-collar white voters. Places like Barnwell County, where 11 percent of adults have a college education and a low median household income, should be a sweep for Trump.

Richland County
· Population: 401,566
· Median household income: $48,359
· Race: Caucasian, 48 percent; black, 47 percent
· Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 36 percent
· 2012 general election: Obama 65 percent
· Residents age 65 or older: 11 percent
· Home to the state’s capital of Columbia

2012 Republican Primary result: Mitt Romney, 38 percent; Newt Gingrich, 32 percent; Rick Santorum, 15 percent; Ron Paul, 13 percent

Sumter County
· Population: 107,919
· Median household income: $41,366
· Race: Caucasian, 49 percent; black, 47 percent
· Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 19 percent
· 2012 general election: Obama 58 percent
· Residents age 65 or older: 15 percent
· Home to Shaw Air Force Base, one of the largest in the Air Force Combat Command

2012 Republican Primary result: Newt Gingrich, 39 percent; Mitt Romney, 32 percent; Rick Santorum, 17 percent; Ron Paul, 10 percent

Lexington County
· Population: 277,888
· Median household income: $54,061
· Race: Caucasian, 81 percent; black, 15 percent
· Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 29 percent
· 2012 general election: Romney 68 percent
· Residents age 65 or older: 14 percent
· The South Carolina State House, formerly home to the display of the Confederate Battle Flag

2012 Republican Primary result: Newt Gingrich, 37 percent; Mitt Romney, 31 percent; Rick Santorum, 18 percent; Ron Paul, 13 percent

Barnwell County
· Population: 21,959
· Median household income: $35,231
· Race: Caucasian, 35 percent; black, 44 percent
· Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 11 percent
· 2012 general: Obama 52 percent
· Residents age 65 or older: 16 percent
· James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, was born in Elko, S.C. (pop. 189) in 1933

2012 Republican Primary result: Newt Gingrich, 55 percent; Mitt Romney, 22 percent; Rick Santorum, 14 percent; Ron Paul, 7 percent

The downstate and coastal area is the wealthiest and most politically moderate part of the state. The two major counties, Charleston and Beaufort, are vacation retreats and popular destinations for Yankee retirees fleeing cold winters.

But there is also a strong military and military retiree presence here that changes the political calculus. These are voters who lifted John McCain to his win in 2008 and kept Mitt Romney in the hunt in 2012. This should be the best part of the state for Marco Rubio, but it also is where he stands to have the most votes siphoned off by Jeb Bush and John Kasich. For Rubio to run second, he will need to prevent too much costal erosion.

Rubio’s endorsements from key South Carolina players like Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott should shore up any last-minute, undecided voters in this region.

Outside of these wealthier coastal towns, though, this is also Trump territory. Jasper County may be the neighbor to beachside Beaufort, but Jasper has a sliver of Beaufort’s population and none of the prosperity.

Charleston County
· Population: 380,015
· Median household income: $50,792
· Race: Caucasian, 68 percent; black, 29 percent
· Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 39 percent
· 2012 general election: Obama 50 percent
· Residents age 65 or older: 15 percent
· Charleston is the adopted home of acting great Bill Murray

2012 Republican Primary result: Mitt Romney, 36 percent; Newt Gingrich, 33 percent; Rick Santorum, 15 percent; Ron Paul, 14 percent

Beaufort County
· Population: 175,852
· Median household income: $57,316
· Race: Caucasian, 77 percent; black, 19 percent
· Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 38 percent
· 2012 general election: Romney 58 percent
· Residents age 65 or older: 24 percent
· One of the fastest-growing counties in the South, Beaufort has more than doubled in population since 1980

2012 Republican Primary result: Mitt Romney, 43 percent; Newt Gingrich, 35 percent; Rick Santorum, 13 percent; Ron Paul, 7 percent

Jasper County
· Population: 27,170
· Median household income: $36,413
· Race: Caucasian, 53 percent; black, 44 percent
· Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 12 percent
· 2012 general election: Obama 57 percent
· Residents age 65 or older: 15 percent
· The Battle of Honey Hill was one of the few Confederate victories during Gen. William Sherman’s “March to the Sea”

2012 Republican Primary result: Gingrich, 47 percent; Romney 29 percent; Santorum 16 percent; Paul 6 percent

Poverty and the Social Welfare State in the United States and Other Nations

This is just an excerpt comparing “poverty” in the US and in other countries.

Seemed like it might be interesting to take a look the week the pope is coming to the US – a man who has seen abject poverty in so many parts of the world.

Living Standards of the Poor in the United States

The actual living standards of Americans defined as poor by the government are far higher than most imagine. The federal government measures poverty by comparing a household’s “money income” to specific poverty income thresholds. If a family’s income falls below the relevant threshold, it is identified as poor. As noted, in 2014, the poverty income threshold for a family of four was $24,008.

The problem is that the Census Bureau’s count of income is wildly inaccurate. In the first place, the Census definition of “money income” excludes nearly all of the welfare state. Last year, government spent over $1 trillion on means-tested welfare programs for the poor and near poor; over 90 percent of this spending is omitted by the Census for purposes of calculating official poverty.

If a family receives benefits from major programs such as food stamps, public housing, section 8 housing, the refundable earned income tax credit, the Women, Infants and Children food program, energy aid, and Medicaid, Census ignores those benefits completely for purposes of determining if the family lives in poverty. The Census does count benefits from a few cash programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as income, but it severely undercounts spending on those programs. Excluding expensive medical benefits from the calculation of poverty may make sense, but ignoring the other welfare programs is severely misleading. A principal merit of Garfinkel, Rainwater, and Smeeding’s poverty analysis is that they make a good-faith effort to include the EITC and food benefits in their calculations and to correct for underreporting.

The government’s own data show that the actual living conditions of the more than 45 million people who are deemed “poor” by the Census Bureau differ greatly from popular conceptions of poverty.[18] Consider these facts taken from various government reports:[19]

  • Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, at the beginning of the War on Poverty, only about 12 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
  • Nearly three-quarters have a car or truck; 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks.[20]
  • Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite television.
  • Half have a personal computer; one in seven has two or more computers.
  • More than half of poor families with children have a video game system such as an Xbox or PlayStation.
  • Forty-three percent have Internet access.
  • Forty percent have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV.
  • A quarter have a digital video recorder system such as a TIVO.

Poverty, Nutrition, and Hunger. Despite impressions to the contrary, most of those who are designated as poor by the U.S. government do not experience undernutrition, hunger, or food shortages.[21]Information on these topics is collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s household food security survey. The USDA survey shows that in 2009:

  • Ninety-six percent of poor parents stated that their children were never hungry at any time during the year because they could not afford food.
  • Some 82 percent of poor adults reported that they were never hungry at any time in the prior year due to lack of money to buy food.
  • As a group, America’s poor are far from being chronically undernourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and in most cases is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children and have average protein intakes 100 percent above recommended levels.[22]
  • Most poor children today are in fact supernourished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier that the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.[23]

Housing and Poverty. Depictions of poverty in America that suggest the majority of the poor are homeless or residing in dilapidated living conditions do not give an accurate picture of poverty in the United States. While such families do exist, they are far from typical of the population defined as poor by the Census Bureau. The actual housing conditions of poor families are very different.[24]

  • Over the course of a year, only 4 percent of poor persons become temporarily homeless. At a single point in time, one in 70 poor persons is homeless.[25]
  • Only 9.5 percent of the poor live in mobile homes or trailers; 49.5 percent live in separate single-family houses or townhouses, and 40 percent live in apartments.
  • Forty-two percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
  • Only 7 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
  • The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Sweden, France, Germany, or the United Kingdom. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those who are classified as poor.)[26]
  • The vast majority of the homes or apartments of the poor are in good repair and without significant defects.

By his own report, the average poor person had sufficient funds to meet all essential needs and was able to obtain medical care for his family throughout the year whenever needed.

Of course, poor Americans clearly do not live in the lap of luxury. Many of the poor struggle to make ends meet, but they are generally struggling to pay for cable TV, air conditioning, and a car while putting food on the table. The average poor person is far from affluent, but his lifestyle is equally far from the images of stark deprivation purveyed by advocacy groups and the mainstream media.


Social welfare expenditures consist of spending on health care, education, retirement benefits, and other government transfer payments. The U.S. social welfare system differs from systems in other advanced nations because it contains a larger private-sector/non-governmental component.

When governmental and non-governmental spending are combined, social welfare absorbs around one-third of U.S. gross domestic product. As a share of GDP, social welfare expenditures in the U.S. are slightly less than the average for other wealthy nations. However, because the U.S. is wealthier than most other advanced nations, real per capita social welfare spending is significantly higher in the U.S. than elsewhere.

The U.S. has very high levels of health care spending per capita and education spending per student. This higher spending does not always lead to improved results. Reforms should be undertaken to reduce health care and education costs while improving outcomes.

Compared against a uniform standard, the U.S. has a poverty rate that is similar to poverty rates in most other advanced nations. However, the U.S. should not seek to outspend other nations in its anti-poverty programs. Instead, the U.S. should seek to reduce poverty by promoting self-sufficiency: the ability to support one’s self and family above the poverty level without reliance on welfare aid.

The key to improving self-sufficiency is to increase work and healthy marriage. Increased self-reliance will lead to an enhanced sense of self-achievement, a principal component of human well-being.[27] Restoring healthy marriage will sharply reduce poverty, improve child outcomes, and increase adult happiness.[28



The Beginning of the End?

My son sent me this link to very interesting post.  Now mind you, I’m not a doomsdayprepper and I’m not buying to book advertised here because who wants to live in the world they predict, but I must admit I was shocked to see two “forbidden” topics in the same post:  religion AND politics.

I invite you to watch or read the following with an open mind.  I’d never heard of an EMP and the idea is totally frightening and highly likely  What better way to cripple the US then hitting us where we would really feel it…every avenue of our lives:  grocery stores, ATMS, electrical grids, telecommications, gas stations, anything that requires power of any kind.  Pretty scarey stuff.  Like I said, keep an open mind, and you’ll be plenty scared.