Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shameful Legislation Hurts CSRA Region and Lincoln County


Al Gray Remarks to Lincoln Co. Commissioners
6/14/2012



Chairman Johnson and Gentlemen of the Commission, thank you for allowing me to speak tonight. I have come to sound a warning about the proposed new 1% Transportation sales tax that comes before voters July 31st. Frankly, in all the years following public policy I have never seen anything this shameful.

The greater shame is on this county's legislators – Bill Jackson, Lee Anderson, and Tom McCall for springing forth such an assault upon the people of this county. The bill that gave rise to this abomination was called the Transportation Investment Act. This bill set up a regional transportation roundtable for 13 counties, including Lincoln County. While it is true all had input, the law set up an executive committee of 5 to have the final vote for the 13 counties. They set it up so that Lincoln County is forced to be in this whole new level of regional government, whether we vote to pass or fail, so that our votes are diminished. This is taxation without representation. Worst of all they committed EXTORTION against us all, by denying state funds if we say “No!” Beyond this, this is a 14.2% tax increase that they swore to never vote for. Nor were any options even offered, like dedicating the 1% to our county.

Yes the shame is upon them and tonight I come to ask you to stop embracing this nonsense lest you bring greater shame on yourselves and the Chamber of Commerce, a group that risks its reputation by hawking this tax.

Politicians and Chamber representatives have been going around the CSRA saying this tax will raise $841 million under a base case. This is a LIE and the Promoters' own data shows that. Here is a chart showing the base case. It is built on wild income growth numbers – 8% next year – that are a fantasy. The real numbers knock holes in these projections!



 Will we get only $650 million? Sales tax revenues are WAYYYYYYY down as the blue charts show over the last 5 years. Can we pretend our way back to prosperity?



Gentlemen YOU HAVE BEEN HOODWINKED!!!!!!! What these real revenue numbers show is that area wide, revenues will probably only cover $500 million to $540 million of the investment list projects! This will mean that the ones in the last years of this deal won't be funded. Incredibly $6.6 million of the $7.7 million of Lincoln's projects are to be built in these final years. 


 Source: Constrained List Spreadsheet from CSRA Regional Commission

The numbers say these projects will lack funding. You have been deceived and now are being asked to foist this deception upon the people of Lincoln County.

Beyond that, this is a terrible 14.2% increase in the sales tax. Frugal folks just cannot stand such an increase in any cost, for a 14.2% increase doubles living costs in 5 years. For this? This comes on top of a 23% sewer rate increase and several double-digit school tax increases. Look around! Who can afford that?

These deceivers have managed you get some of you excited over Lincoln County getting $722,000 a year in new discretionary funds. Well, based upon the data above this looks to be far less. This money is only coming to us because this scam makes Richmond and Columbia counties give up $7 million to bribe us into this wicked partnership with them. How is that right? A 1% new tax dedicated to Lincoln County would raise more revenue. Why are you excited about the same money or less with strings attached? Why are you willing to destroy your credibility for this?

Gov. Sonny Perdue said that DOT committed ENRON ACCOUNTING when it lost control of highway funds 4 years ago. Now they are all excited about getting their hands on this money. They want us to bail them out.

Mark Twain once said there were three kinds of lies....Lies....Damned lies and statistics........now we can add a fourth lie – Tsplost.

My warning is this. Don't go forth using these phony numbers after tonight. You know better and the people now know better.

Just vote no on T-splost. It is the only honorable thing to do.

For more reality based information on what Tsplost really is all about visit CityStink.net online.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Nehemiah Gazes on Augusta

Listening to Old Nehemiah
Scripture for the Mayor’s Next Prayer Breakfast

by Al Gray


Local and state leaders are stuck on “moving forward” to the point of absurdity. There is a whole book in the bible that supports that positive , literally constructive, approach. The book of Nehemiah is a tribute to building and teamwork. The fifth chapter abruptly tells a different tale. There readers see Israel in the throes of a depression, even as the great temple was being built. Nehemiah, perhaps as wise as was Solomon, saw dislocations happening and sprang into action before things spun out of control.

History repeats, it is said. Nehemiah would recognize our time well. There was a great famine. People could not repay their loans. Between taxes and debts they lost their lands and were forced to sell their children into slavery. By some accounts there was a dearth, more people than the land or economy could support.

There are many versions of the Bible to study that take on these problems in different contexts. I like the words of Nehemiah found in  the Bible Gateway's Easy to Read Version.

When I heard their complaints, I was very angry. 7 I calmed myself down, and then I went to the rich families and the officials...... Then I called for all the people to meet together 8 and said to them, “Our fellow Jews were sold as slaves to people in other countries. We did our best to buy them back and make them free. And now, you are selling them like slaves again!”
   The rich people and officials kept quiet. They could not find anything to say. 9 So I continued speaking. I said, “What you people are doing is not right! You know that you should fear and respect our God. You should not do the shameful things other people do! 10 My men, my brothers, and I are also lending money and grain to the people. But let’s stop forcing them to pay interest on these loans. 11 You must give their fields, vineyards, olive fields, and houses back to them, right now! …...”
 12 Then the rich people and the officials said, “We will give it back and not demand anything more from them. Nehemiah, we will do as you say.”
   Then I called the priests. I made the rich people and the officials promise to God that they would do what they said. 13 Then I shook out the folds of my clothes. I said, “God will do the same thing to everyone who does not keep their promise. God will shake them out of their houses and they will lose everything they worked for. They will lose everything!”
   I finished saying these things and all the people agreed. They all said, “Amen” and praised the LORD. So the people did as they had promised.

The people were also greatly oppressed by the servants and officers of the governor; but, during the twelve years that Nehemiah had been with them, he took not this salary, and ate none of their bread. Nor were his servants permitted to take or exact any thing from them. Having such an example, it was scandalous for their chiefs, priests, and nobles, thus to oppress an afflicted and distressed people.

The Lesson For AUGUSTA Today

We have a problem like that of Nehemiah and his people. The demographics of the baby boom population were always bound to produce a dearth. This writer acknowledged it and planned for it. The dearth was scheduled to strike after 2020, but it is of the here and now. The greatest wave of financial corruption the world has ever seen – ever-morphing, expanding with the speed of instantaneous communication and power of globalism – has sped up this dreadful time by a full decade.

In desperation, the formerly wealthy who were largely wiped out in 2008 have seized upon their political domination to restore their fortunes. If they go unchecked, there will be no American middle class in a scant 5 years. Are these things happening in Augusta, as elsewhere? Yes, they are.

When the share price of  the demised Wachovia Bank fell from $57 to $2 and Regions Bank suffered a similar tumble in 2007 and 2008, some in the know say it took a $Billion out of the wealth of Augusta. This writer estimates the losses at more than $600 million. Commercial and residential real estate, particularly resort homes, crashed in value. These were sledgehammer blows to the wealth class and would have permanently shifted wealth to those who planned, saved, trained, and invested for these times. Those who lost want none of that. Their excesses of power and influence have been stunning, taking us to the brink of extinguishing the rule of law and flaunting the laws of mathematics.

The first levers of power to be engaged were over government contracts, stimulus funds, capital projects, and tax incentives. $50 million in improvements on lands Augusta doesn't own, $millions in federal stimulus money dumped on Laney Walker to the benefit of the whitest of Columbia County developers who had lost in the crash, an unannounced 'opportunity zone' foisted upon Harrisburg, and a public housing project in Martinez greased by massive lobbyist funds to the highest of Georgia officials are overwhelming evidence. These are just the incidences that have been disclosed. More are coming.

Into the maw of this chasm of government money and power, a group of local citizens has sprung forth to meet it head on. This writer is proud to be amongst them. The danger to our fortunes, occupations, freedom, and even our lives is palpable. There have been threats. We acknowledge them and move forward with firm resolve. In the scant months since the Augusta Today facebook group, City Stink  and ArrowFlinger Reports have been created the results have been stunning and the support from the community has been overwhelming, yet humbling. We thank you all for that. I believe that through similar efforts we can claw Augusta and America back from the brink of an apocalypse.

The approach is simple. We formed a nucleus of dedicated researchers, professionals, and public policy freaks to identify, plan, document, execute, and publicize projects, supported by a guarded social network that now exceeds 200.  We pull from professional resources from across America. We try to excel in presenting documents for the public to examine on line that buttress our case. If there is opposition, they find themselves not in argument with our findings but in direct confrontation with their own deeds, words and documents! This was our plan from the outset. Its effectiveness is an epic success. If one thinks upon it, the approach of turning government and power back upon itself can be seen as a form of martial-arts in which size and force of the opponent is his own worst enemy. We give the broadcast media a knowledge base and stories that cannot be fully explored in the two minutes or less that they have on the air. In these times of swift, yet unrecognized, shifts in local fortunes and power, we may prove instrumental in restoring the free market to the process, as traditional media remains welded to the past, unwilling to risk offending those who have failed. The past belongs to those who failed. We embrace the future with relish.

What can you do to help? First, you can form your own nuclei of project teams within the overall framework of Augusta Today, coordinating with our group or independently if you wish, much as the Magnolia Trace group has done. You will have to thoroughly vet the members and restrict the number to ten or less. You will have to have discipline and a high degree of coordination. (We learned this lesson the hard way, as we had no formal plan – we just 'happened.') Inclusion of media people is not advised, as the objective is to be a source for all dedicated to none. There is no dearth of opportunities. The current group has at least six months of projects and stories already. There is room for expansion. Second, as we get the capability to accept donations, please contribute. Radio talk show host Austin Rhodes initiated this aspect of our efforts in order to engage tough legal counsel as a force multiplier against the City of Augusta, should common sense fail with regard to the City’s Reynolds Street Deck Agreements. Our current intention is to employ that resource there and elsewhere on projects from Augusta to the gold dome in Atlanta.

We acknowledge the tremendous role of the broadcast media in spreading our stories, particularly Renee DeMedicis of WNRR, Austin Rhodes of WGAC of WNRR, Tony Powers, George Eskola of WJBF, and Chris Thomas of WRDW. They have added a forceful dimension that we could never achieve. We will similarly embrace whatever journalistic print media survives this maelstrom too.

We have no Nehemiah, we have ourselves and our resolve to avoid the abyss of lawlessness, incontrovertible stupidity, arrogance, and abuse of power that lies ahead. Augusta’s mayor is stuck on “moving forward.”  We have seen the path he is on and we have bolted from it. How about you?

Nehemiah’s Message to Augusta Power Brokers and Manipulators

There have been times like these before in Augusta, periods of economic downturn and those finding themselves with decimated fortunes while still holding enormous political power with which they tried to regain their riches at public expense. The names Bert Hester and Gene Holley come to mind. Senator Holley was once one the most powerful men in Georgia and had amassed one of the state’s largest fortunes, before enormous losses in oil led to overly aggressive financial actions that ended with a conviction for bank fraud. When this writer recalled Holley’s conviction and imprisonment, it was wondered how Mr. Holley lived his final years. His obituary reported that they were spent in simplicity of lifestyle, regained faith, and in the love of his family and friends. That is not bad, not bad at all.
                                     
If you are one of the Augusta elite and high society, for your own sakes – follow the advice of Nehemiah. A storm comes and it is one in which we all need each other. Reject the rest of us and you will find yourselves in the gravest of dangers. Gene Holley’s epitaph wasn’t bad, not bad at all.

May your next prayer breakfast be blessed.

Nehemiah’s gaze is upon you.






Thursday, February 2, 2012

Arrowflinger Sings in Georgia Senate Chambers - Ethics? Where?



After Georgia House Speaker Glenn Richardson went down in flames of scandal and personal ruin in late 2009, in the early days of 2010 Arrowflinger Al went on a local talk radio program, the Austin Rhodes Show, on WGAC in Augusta, Georgia to endorse David Ralston as a "Reformer."

That summer Ralston took a $17,000 European vacation courtesy of lobbyists. More recently he received $5,000 from Affordable Equity Partners of Missouri who plopped down a public housing development, Magnolia Trace, in the middle of a sedate part of Columbia County.

There is also the matter of Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, also touted by the Arrowflinger on the Austin Rhodes Show as a "reformer." Then he went about soliciting sporting event tickets on PSC letterhead!

Then some months ago, old Al confronted Representative Tom McCall about the lack of ethics at a Concerned Citizens of Lincoln County meeting and got blown off. The newspaper reporter failed to report what was a heated discussion.

This seemed to be an appropriate response.

If the good men and women of the Georgia General Assembly don't do something and fast, they will be laughed out of the state and shunned at home.

The Arrowflinger has been let down by politicians more often than a practice dummy at funeral training school.

The original footage was shady and a mite crooked. That is PERFECT!

Revenge is sweet?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Paul Broun Schooled on His RINO Friends

In March 2010 Arrowflinger Al engaged Dr. Paul Broun at a Lincolnton, Georgia town hall meeting. Topics were financial fraud, mad GOP spending, and GOP party principles.

More recently local Augusta, Georgia talk show host Austin Rhodes was embarrassed by the National Defense Authorization Act Controversy when Paul Broun had a radio town hall meeting on his show on Friday January 13, 2012. Broun inexplicably voted for NDAA, gutting the Bill of Rights. Rhodes has since excoriated Arrowflinger Al for "suddenly" turning on Representative Broun but that was the fourth time Broun was engaged by this former supporter and urged to change his history of support of fake Republicans or to stop the financial looting of America with law enforcement.

Is this true? Did Broun get unceremoniously and dumped by this loyal supporter? Or was the supporter justified in deciding that Broun had been dismissive of his concerns over four public meetings in 5 years?

First, Broun was engaged at a fundraiser in Augusta in 2008, then this meeting in 2010, then on C-Span again in the fall of 2011, and finally on the January 13, 2012 town hall meeting.

How many second chances does Paul Broun think he deserves?

Anybody who gave Barak Hussein Obama power and dominion to seize the Arrowflinger without a warrant, detain him without limit, provide no notice to next of kin or even execute him is to be opposed with every fiber in one's being.

Sorry Paul. Times up. You had one more last chance. You blew it.

That Constitution you carried around in your pocket was just a prop by just another common politician.

This saddens. It is life. The really great thing is that your opponent, Steven Simpson is a really bright man who is consummately prepared to replace you.

(video courtesy of the Lincoln COunty Technology Department)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Last Word: Religion in Politics

On September 15, 2011 the Arrowflinger heard C-Span Washington Journal host Susan Swain pose the morning question of whether a candidate's religious stance has any bearing on whether a citizen votes for him. This prompted a rowdy call concluding with "Most politicians....are more crooked than a barrel of fish hooks!" This video from a turnip patch expounds on the theme of that morning.

The situation that prompted this unscripted humor was that the ArrowFlinger had gone on local talk radio to promote various candidates, including Speaker of the House David Ralston, who was mistakenly praised as "a reformer," but then the Speaker took a $17,000 lobbyist-paid vacation.

Warning to politicians. DO NOT GO WRONG after this man has put his name on the line in support of you!




Here is the C-Span interview, concluding in a barrel of fish hooks.

Last Word: Former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D., Arkansas)

Former Senator Blanche Lincoln appeared on C-Span Washington Journal on July 1, 2011 when she received a call from Arrowflinger Al, who posed blunt questions about the loss of the Rule of Law and basic honesty at the hands of the bankers, accountants, and politicians.

Since this interview, the world financial crisis has worsened, with Europe in danger of collapse and the M.F. Global bankruptcy bringing the terrible consequences of the CFMA discussed here home to roost from sea to shining sea. Meanwhile, the Fed's $trillions in toxic assets continues to rot as there are not enough lawyers, accountants, and auditors on earth to remediate the damage.

Here is the Arrowflinger report.




Here is the C-Span Washington Journal interview.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Last Word 012212A: Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R., Kansas) on M.F. Global

The Arrowflinger catches up with Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R. KS on the Washington Journal of December 8, 2011. The Congressman expected to talk about the M.F. Global scandal, but got a surprise request. After a host of simply stunning and outrageous banking frauds, near and far, the notion of the NDAA applying to a frugal saver had Al ready to reenact Custer's Last Stand..

At this posting, people's cash accounts with M.F. Global, a primary dealer in the Federal Reserve system with a fiduciary duty as a Treasury bond marketeer, were still unaccounted for. This joins myriad failures to prosecute the bankers responsible. Customers' gold in M.F. Global vaults was attached by the bankruptcy trustee, who made no discernment as to ownership. Georgia was number one or number 2 in mortgage fraud for five years running. Instead of cracking down on criminals, the last thing needed in the good old USA was loss of the Bill of Rights for the honest, frugal saver.





Here is the C-Span clip of the call from the Arrowflinger.


Last Word: Dr. Thomas Hoenig - Federal Reserve Bank

The Arrowflinger speaks with Dr. Thomas Hoenig, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, then a voting member of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee, in February 2010.



Here is the C-Span clip of the interview.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Arrowflinger Report 01192010: NDAA Vote by Rep. Paul Broun



Here is Rush Limbaugh to explain to Representative Broun the enormity of his disastrous vote for the National Defense Authorization Act.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Last Word: Iowa State Economist Chad Hart

On January 21, 2011, Dr. Chad Hart of Iowa State University was interviewed by C-Span Washington Journal host Peter Slen on the topic of rising food prices. Both received a challenge to the traditional economic theories from this sound money caller and advocate of alternative economics.

To expound on the Arrowflinger's favorite alternative economic blogs, they include zerohedge.com, globaleconomicanalysis.blogsport.com, maxkeiser.com, market-ticker.org, kingworldnews.com, and financialsense.com.



The C-Span Interview

Last Word: Rep. Paul Broun (R., Georgia)

Last Word: Former Rep. John Spratt (D, SC)

Former Representative John Spratt (D, S.C.)was on C-Span Washington Journal April 18, 2011 discussing the Federal Budget when the Arrowflinger called in to inquire about his inconsistent voting record with respect to his avowed fiscal conservatism.
Host Libby Casey moderated.




Here is the C-Span clip of the interview.

Last Word: Former Rep. Tom Davis (R, Virginia) on Campaign 2010

On July 13, 2010 former Congressman Tom Davis, a Republican of Virginia was on C-Span's Washington Journal with host Paul Orgel to discuss the 2010 GOP election efforts. Rep. Davis was a prior Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. The topic of the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000 came up. Since that day, horrendous consequences of the CFMA have become manifest, principally the M.F. Global bankruptcy.



The original C-Span interview appears below.

Last Word: FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair

On May 6, 2010, the Arrowflinger caught up with Ms. Sheila Bair, then Chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, on the Washington Journal. Here is his last word. Since that interview, Wells Fargo, who had the misfortune to be saddled with the carcass of Wachovia, has also had to settle litigation involving mortgage fraud allegations for $590 million and Collateralized Debt Obligations for $11 million, without admitting guilt - of course! There has been a settlement with another bank for $100 million.

Closer to home, Wachovia had an enormous investor base around Augusta, Georgia because of a series of bank acquisitions using Wachovia or predecessor First Union's stock. Wachovia stock went from $57 to less than $2 before the failing bank was rolled into Wells Fargo. Other national banks saw stock prices plunge. Since many prominent area families were so heavily invested, one of the old family patriarchs has been heard to say that the fall of Wachovia and others swept $1 billion out of Augusta. A cynic would say this is why, now more than ever, it is critical for citizens to keep vigilant, lest they find themselves making up the losses by political actions.

Now the Last Word, followed by the C-Span clip of the Bair Interview.



Here is the C-Span clip from May 6, 2010.