Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Buffett Rule would only hit 1% of small business owners

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., sided with fellow Republicans in voting against the "Buffett rule" on Monday. (click here)

..."On the heels of a very weak jobs report for the month of March, this is no time to be talking about raising taxes," Brown said in a statement after the vote. "It will hurt small businesses and make the economy worse."...

It looks as though Republicans like Scott Brown are far more rhetorical than truthful.

At what point do Republicans actually governor. They didn't for eight years of Bush/Cheney and they haven't yet since 2008?

All they did during Bush/Cheney was spend and sink the country into war and debt while destroying the USA economy. Actually, the lack of governing under Bush/Cheney sunk the global economy.

When does all the rhetoric stop and some real governing begin? Never? The USA is supposed to flounder forever in Plutocrat Heaven?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- When it comes to small businesses and the Buffett Rule, it really is about the 99%. (click title to entry - thank you)

That is, it's likely that only 1% of small business owners would be directly affected by the latest proposal to raise taxes on the rich, according to data from the U.S. Treasury Department....

Earthquakes are rattling the Pacific today.

2:48 a.m. CDT, April 17, 2012
Reuters) - A 7.0 magnitude earthquake (click here) struck off the north coast of Papua New Guinea on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The quake struck at a depth of 125.5 miles and was centered 137 km north of Lae, Papua New Guinea's second-largest city.

he Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said no destructive Pacific-wide tsunami was expected.

Papua New Guinea is on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and suffers many earthquakes but often avoids major damage and casualties because most of its people live in light and flexible housing.

However, more than 2,000 people were killed in 1998 when a 7.0 magnitude quake struck off Papua New Guinea's north coast, causing a tsunami that smashed into isolated villages.

Magnitude 6.8 - EASTERN NEW GUINEA REG, PAPUA NEW GUINEA (USGS - click here)
2012 April 17 07:13:50 UTC

Three hours apart and opposite sides of the ocean. There were twin tornadoes, why not twin earthquakes?

The red dots on the map below are volcanic "hot spots" of which Hawaii is one, along Earth's plates. Now, if plates are sitting in liquid magma and there are 'hot spot' eruptions, what makes anyone ever believe there are not relationships between the movement of the plates and the ability to track trends in earthquakes along those movements? Hawaii just happens to be a hot spot in the Middle of the Atlantic and not along a convergence boundary of two plates.

I have stated before when the massive Pacific Plate moves it pushes the Nazca Plate causing instability at both the east and west borders of the Nazca Plate. There are no measures of seismic activity in the middle of the Pacific, so the western Nazca Plate movement is undetectable. For the most part seismic activity records are where poeple live.

So much for Hard Rock Geologists and the idea one plate has no effect on the others.

2012 April 17 04:03:17 UTC

Strong quake shakes Chile, no damage reported (click title to entry - thank you)

Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:26am EDT

(Reuters) - A powerful 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck near Chile's eastern port of Valparaiso early on Tuesday, shaking buildings as far away as the capital Santiago, but there were no reports of significant damage and the country's main copper mines were unaffected.

One elderly man died as a result of a heart attack brought on by the quake, which struck 26 miles north-northeast of Valparaiso, and 69 miles northwest of the capital Santiago, but there were no other reports of injuries.

State emergency office ONEMI said a stretch of coastline was being evacuated as a precaution, but there was no tsunami alert.

Rodrigo Ubilla, an Interior Ministry undersecretary, said there had been no reports of damage to public or private infrastructure, although state television said several thousand homes were without power outside Santiago....

Tue Apr 17, 10:36 AM

Harper awakened by earthquake in Chilean capital (click here)

CTVNews.ca Staff
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen were rattled awake by a strong earthquake while staying at a hotel in Chile's capital.

Lights swayed and buildings shook as the quake rumbled through Santiago at about 12:50 a.m. local time Monday. The United States Geological Society declared the event a 6.7-magnitude earthquake, centered 112 kilometres from the capital.

"All members of the Canadian delegation, including the prime minister, and his wife, Laureen, are just fine," Andrew MacDougall, Harper's director of communications, confirmed shortly after.

The quake marked a dramatic end to Harper's otherwise incident-free trip to Colombia and South America where free trade was on the agenda.

Having just wrapped up four days of discussion, Harper had little to say when asked about the earthquake while boarding a plane back to Canada early Tuesday....

The price of retaining talent within the USA government. There is no room to talk for a Presidential Salary increase by the previous administration.

The electorate is always told it is necessary to raise the salaries of elected federal officials in order to attract talent. Well, it is time for an accounting to that reality, including the spending policies of the GSA.

Effective Jan. 1, 2001, the salary of the president of the United States was increased to $390,000 per year including a $50,000 expense account....

..."For compensation of the President, (click here) including an expense allowance at the rate of $50,000 per annum as authorized by 3 U.S.C. 102, $390,000: Provided, That none of the funds made available for official expenses shall be expended for any other purpose and any unused amount shall revert to the Treasury pursuant to section 1552 of title 31, United States Code: Provided further, That none of the funds made available for official expenses shall be considered as taxable to the President." -- as printed in the Congressional Record, December 15, 2000 (Vol. 146, No. 155)....

The GSA (click here) should have to justify their spending. Its spending should not be viewed as a patriot role to help the economy either.

We already know the government losses competent employees to the private sector on a regular basis and that is the case with the GSA as well. It is questionable the budgets for these events actually retain employees, but, there needs to be an analysis by the Government Accounting Office, as if they don't have enough work to do.

But the approach by the Majority GOP House is a complete joke. All of a sudden, the GOP has found oversight is necessary when it was absent for the previous administration.

I want an analysis of the spending of the GSA (US General Services Administration) in the Obama years vs the Bush years. SERIOUSLY. The Bush years had absolutely no oversight, except perhaps beginning with 2006 elections. 

This is still another attempt by the GOP to cherry pick issues that were completely ignored in the previous administration.

6:07 a.m. Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

WASHINGTON — The General Services Administration (click title of entry - thank you) inspector general said Monday that he’s investigating possible bribery and kickbacks, as a central figure in a GSA spending scandal asserted his right to remain silent at a congressional hearing.

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voiced outrage at the scandal ignited by disclosure of a 2010 conference at a Las Vegas resort that cost taxpayers more than $800,000.
The former GSA chief who resigned because of it apologized, saying, “I will mourn for the rest of my life the loss of my appointment.” Martha Johnson said the conference “had evolved into a raucous, extravagant, arrogant, self-congratulatory event.” But she approved a $9,000 job-performance bonus for its organizer last year, against the recommendation of a deputy director, while the conference was being investigated.
Jeffrey Neely, who set up the conference and took the Fifth Amendment before the committee Monday, has been placed on leave as a regional executive in Western states....
There is a requirement now elected federal officials cannot become lobbyists for at least a year after leaving office, that should apply across the board to any high level paid employee.

The statistics across the board of opinion is grossly unfocused.

Obama handling the economyApproveDisapproveUndecided
Mar 201244%50%6%
Feb 201241%53%6%
Jan 201235%60%5%
Dec 201142%54%4%
Nov 201138%59%3%
Oct 201134%61%5%
Sep 201137%60%3%
Aug 201140%55%5%
Jul 201141%54%5%
Jun 201139%55%6%
May 201143%52%5%
Apr 201141%54%5%
Mar 201142%51%7%

It is easy to blame President Obama for the economy, but, every initiative he has put forward was opposed by Republicans in statistics that proves a political tactic and not actions in the best interest of the country. 

The polls don't reflect the reality that the Republican House majority are too extreme in their legislating and the Republican Senate minority are absolute obstructionists. The polls reflect the idea that President Obama has a magic wand that can change the economy with effective legislation which hasn't happened in the Senate from 2008 and in the Senate and House since 2010.

I believe it was George W. Bush in the 2000 campaign that said of Al Gore, "But, can he (Al Gore) get the job done?" The result of that election plunged the USA into an illegal and immoral war for oil in Iraq and a complete economic collapse in 2008. The FACT the GOP uses valuable time for politics and not problem solving is outrageous, but, that is never revealed in polls. This is a political strategy that holds the citizens of the USA as hostages. It is immoral and the GOP needs to be held accountable, not the President!

What the American people get as a side effect of a GOP choice is war, social oppression and grossly ineffective and DANGEROUS energy policies.

That is a fact and can be proven statistically. So much for polls.

Syria is back to shelling unarmed communities. Entire communities. What in God's name?

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad with Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov 

Not surprising Russia is standing with Assad as he opens fire on citizens. That is ludicrous. There is no way the citizens of Syria, after have more than 7000 die, would risk more deaths. The idea putting pressure on basically unarmed citizens could enforce a ceasefire is nonsense. It is up to Assad, who is afraid of his own future, to end these deaths! This is a unilateral escalation by Assad. This is madness.

Assad will continue his attacks as long as he can get away with it and appear to have a shadow of legitimacy with Russia at his side. Russia is way out of line. There are human rights violations by Assad and it would seem now Russia as well.

The idea that civilians attempting to stop their own massacre are responsible for the returned attacks by Assad is nothing short of propaganda. The Medvedev Presidency actually approves of this? The number of dead Syrian troops is marginal compared to the deaths of Syrian civilians. 

The truth of this matter is that Assad has lost the ability to project his own people's hatred of him onto Lebanon any more. For a very long time, Assad has demonized the leadership of Lebanon as a strategy of hate to distract from his own agenda. This opposition has been evident for a long time in the history of the Assad regime, it was muted until the people finally focused. This 'difference' between Assad and his people has finally come to roost.

Syria ceasefire 'fragile', Russia claims (click here)

10:46AM BST 17 Apr 2012

Russia has said the ceasefire in Syria is "fragile", as Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister, urged countries to put more pressure on the armed opposition to co-operate with Kofi Annan's peace plan.

The claims came as activists said the Assad regime widened shelling attacks on opposition strongholds, in a fresh sign that the ceasefire is quickly unravelling.
"There really are those who are interested in the failure of Kofi Annan's plan and they actually mentioned that (opinion) even before this plan was made public," Mr Lavrov said without naming specific countries.
Russia has previously condemned some Arab states for agreeing to provide funding to the opposition Free Syrian Army....
"There are countries – there are outside forces – that are not interested in the success of current UN Security Council efforts," Mr Lavrov said....

This is unilateral action within the ceasefire initiated by Syria. The people have a right to protect themselves from what sincerely appears to be a mad man.

BEIRUT (AP) – The Syrian regime widened shelling attacks (click title to entry - thank you) on opposition strongholds Tuesday, activists said, targeting a second town in a new sign that a U.N.-brokered cease-fire is quickly unraveling despite the presence of foreign observers.

The truce is part of an international plan to launch talks between President Bashar Assad's regime and those trying to topple him. An uprising against Assad erupted 13 months ago, but became increasingly violent in response to a regime crackdown.

Regime compliance with the cease-fire has been partial, and the latest escalation further lowered expectations that the key element of special envoy Kofi Annan's plan can stick.

Annan, joint emissary for the U.N. and the Arab League, was to travel to Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday to brief the Arab League on the situation in Syria....

Injury from accidents are the leading cause of death and the good news is those statistics are waning.

Car accidents injuries are down in causing a child's death, but, a growing statistic of children and teens is accidental poisonings from prescription drugs.

...A 41 percent drop in traffic fatalities (click title to entry - thank you) had a huge impact on the numbers — crashes annually account for half or more of kids’ deaths from accidents.

The CDC didn’t analyze what caused that decline, but officials believe it was helped by measures like graduated driver’s licenses and use of child safety and booster seats.

Childhood deaths from drownings, fires and falls also plummeted.

Meanwhile, the CDC saw an alarming jump in deaths from prescription drug overdoses, a trend that reaches down into the ranks of older teenagers....

The drop of deaths in car accidents is wonderful, I can't help but wonder if there are less miles children are traveling due to the cost of gasoline or are the improvement by auto manufacturers having this incredible impact. My guess is the manufacturers are sincerely trying to engineer their cars to be safe. I congratulate them. 

I do know there was a huge effort by the Obama administration to restrict the child safety seats in cars to be sure the safest designs were on the market while eliminating those that had proven to be a far more risky design. That initiative occurred at least a year ago, if I remember correctly. It may be the leadership of President Obama's administration is having an impact in the well being of the American citizen.

From the CDC:

Saving Lives and Protecting People: Prevention of Prescription Painkiller Overdoses (click here)

Overdose deaths have skyrocketed in the past decade, largely because of prescription painkillers. The stories are tragic: A father whose addiction to prescription painkillers ended in a fatal overdose. A teen who died after taking prescription painkillers stolen from a friend’s grandmother. Seven members of one community who overdosed on painkillers they got from a pain clinic.
Overdoses of prescription painkillers have more than tripled in the past 20 years, leading to 14,800 deaths in the United States in 2008....

People vs. Walker - Rally planned

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis, Friday, April 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker comes to Springfield on Tuesday to address the state Chamber of Commerce, he could well see more people outside the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel and Conference Center than inside waiting for his speech.
Labor unions, incensed that Walker - best known for his efforts to curtail most public employee collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin - was invited to speak to Illinois business leaders, plan a rally outside the hotel.
Walker is scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. Chamber President Doug Whitley said he's expected to speak for about 30 minutes and then take questions from the audience for about 10 minutes.
Labor organizers plan for their rally to run from 9 a.m. until about 11 a.m.
Logistics of the rally are being handled by the Springfield and Central Illinois Trades and Labor Council. Council President Terry Reed said he's hoping up to 2,000 people attend....

Walker has been fund raising out of state with his recall election coming up. He is  spending plenty to save his position as Governor. 

The recall effort was widely successful, however, will they be able to sustain their success as a grassroots movement without the benefit of millions to spend on advertising?

Breivik defiant as Norway massacre trial opens

Bubba's night out, huh? Wasn't it Governor Sanford of South Carolina that met his demise in Argentina? Hot women.

This isn't about embarassment, it is about National Security.

Sort of reminds me about the Minerals Management Scandal where the department partied hardy with the petroleum industry.

I don't really care if they hired legal prostitutes, that isn't even the question, it is what they told the women during pillow talk that matters. 

It is completely inappropriate for a security detail of the President of the United States of America to be involved with citizens of a foreign country.  It is why out of line and borders on dangerous and treasonous depending what was said and done.

Wine, women and song. It matters what they were singing. I never thought there was a good enough investigation into the petroleum industry and their parties either. It is one thing to fire employees that don't care about the country and it's security, it is quite another thing to continue to allow those sponsoring the parties to continue to own and operate petroleum leases, including natural gas, in the country at all. They should have been barred from engaging in any more lease auctions and should have had their current leases recalled, along with federal prosecution for bribery and treason.

The business of the USA is not a playground for the plutocrats and/or playboys. Slap 'em on the wrist and send them on their way to greater aspirations when the GOP is back in the saddle again.

The Pentagon investigates 10 military personnel in an inquiry into whether an advance security team for Obama's visit hired prostitutes.

April 16, 2012, 6:51 p.m.

...The Pentagon investigation (click title to entry - thank you)  is focusing on five Army Special Forces soldiers, two Marines, two Navy personnel and one member of the Air Force, a U.S. military official said.

The Navy and Air Force personnel belong to an explosives detection unit, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

At least five of the 10 were being flown back to the U.S. on Monday. A U.S. colonel was en route to Cartagena, Colombia, to supervise the Pentagon portion of the investigation into an incident that has embarrassed the White House, the Secret Service and the Pentagon....

There is a profound lack of dedication to the country by people that disregard its national security. They should never be allowed anywhere near the country's security apparatus again. Why aren't there people being employed in these areas that actually give a damn about themselves and the country they serve and treats them well? I know plenty of young people in the 99 percent that would love the job beyond any imagination of losing the trust of the nation for being this stupid.

Cartagena, Columbia. Honestly!