Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bradley Manning never intended to do the USA harm. Quite the contrary, as a whistleblower he sought to save lives.

The Guardian

After admitting guilt in 10 of 22 charges, soldier reveals how he came to share classified documents with WikiLeaks and talks of 'bloodlust' of US helicopter crew

Bradley Manning, (click here) the solider accused of the biggest unauthorised disclosure of state secrets in US history, has admitted for the first time to being the source of the leak, telling a military court that he passed the information to a whistleblowing website because he believed the American people had a right to know the "true costs of war"....

The information released was nothing the American people should not know. As a matter of fact, the information regarding the fallen should have been provided to the families when they were handed a folded flag at the grave site.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn stated in an interview with Anderson Cooper there were legislators that left the hearing room before the people from Sandy Hook came into the room. I want to know whom those were that left the hearing room.

While the Senate can't get their act together after walking out on the families of victims, Maryland has passed gun legislation.

Md. Senate passes gun control bill (click here)
Thousands expected in Annapolis Friday as debate moves to House

By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun
7:56 p.m. ESTFebruary 28, 2013

The Maryland Senate on Thursday approved a sweeping gun control bill that would give the state one of the strictest firearm laws in the country.
The contentious issue moved immediately to the House of Delegates — where the chamber's first public hearing on the bill and a rally by supporters are expected to draw thousands of people to Annapolis Friday.
The Senate's 28-19 vote to support Gov. Martin O'Malley's bill came after more than 12 hours of often emotional debate Wednesday and Thursday. Supporters said the proposal — which would ban the sale of assault rifles and require a license to purchase a handgun — would save lives....

100 Airport Closures

The way this is transpiring is wrong. I am NOT saying that Secretary LaHood is wrong. I am sure these closings were difficult decisions. I am not saying the closings aren't going to happen, but, if the debt reduction over 10 years is to go forward it needs a different approach.

Air Traffic Control Facilities That Could be Closed (click here)

In all honesty, the President needs to move through the FAA over the next year to have public meetings to ask what the best alternatives are for these airports. The cuts should be delayed and accept public comment for the next six months. Solicit comment from these airports specifically, but, ask for public comment and ask these airports to request public comment to submit from their local media.

There is a chance there will be investors that would seek to add private monies to these airports to begin a private holding to pay the air traffic controllers. It would provide an opportunity for the local economy to own their own airport interests and hire the air traffic controllers currently working at these facilities.

If NASA can privatize space interests there has to be a way for these airports to maintain their operations IF they have private investment. Some won't. But, there is a chance some will.

The public comment will provide insight to the demands of these airports and the viability to maintain their current status with private interests. It is a way of moving these airports out of the federal budget and be self supporting.

It is my guess there will be a fair number of the airports that will have private interests to come forward. There doesn't have to be security consequences either. The privatized airports would have to abide by the laws of the USA. They cannot compromise the larger airports by having compromised security. But, it might work and at least the USA has the obligation to try.

I wish Pope Benedict XVI the peace and serenity he seeks.

What did we learn from the victory of Robin Kelly?

Mayor Bloomberg is not a dishonest man. I am quite confident if there was any deception in the message on the behalf of Ms. Kelly he would disapprove of it. He has a sincere sense of balance, too. 

What I learned from Ms. Kelly's victory is that when the electorate is given good quality information, they make good decisions. No rhetoric. No shadow of corruption. But, simply good information and how life can be better. 

Ms. Kelly didn't win without the support of her electorate and to that end they are better educated today than before her candidacy. 

The monies were significant contributed to her campaign to benefit the people of her district. That only goes to show how entrenched the adverse information was within the electorate. It took a lot of education delivered in a short period of time to reach the electorate. That should be a lesson well learned. 

Those seeking to reduce the number of guns on the street and make the USA safer and happier need to realize it is a continuous message that people come to understand. An underlying truth if you will. When that truth is substituted with a corrupt message it works just as well when it is not contested.

Passive acceptance of the NRA messaging all these years to benefit gun sales over the best interest of reducing the crimes of violence and a drug culture in the name of the Second Amendment was a level of negligence that the nation is paying the ultimate price.

I wish Ms. Kelly the best in her continued candidacy. We need her.

Aamer Madhani and Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY
4:48p.m. EST February 27, 2013

WASHINGTON--Vice President Biden (click here) said on Wednesday that Robin Kelly's victory in the Democratic primary of the Illinois 2nd District special election underscores that politicians who don't support sensible gun control will pay a price.

On Tuesday, Kelly, a former state senator who made her backing of President Obama's gun control agenda a central part of her campaign, beat out Debbie Halvorson, whose 'A+' rating from the National Rifle Association was consistently attacked by Kelly and other opponents during the campaign...
At some point in time, Senator Wyden has to come to terms with the fact Executive Privilege is just that and proceed with the nominee's vote. 

Does it matter if there is a change in candidate? The information is still under Executive Privilege.

WASHINGTON | Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:10pm EST
The committee's (click here) Republican vice chairman, Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, said the panel expects to hold the vote on Tuesday.

No explanation for the delay was immediately available. However, the Obama administration has been at odds with members of the committee's Democratic majority over White House unwillingness to disclose some highly classified legal documents related to "targeted killings," including the use of lethal drone strikes against suspected militants....

...Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a key committee Democrat who had indicated earlier his preference that the vote not be held until the administration made additional disclosures, said late on Wednesday he was still not satisfied with what the White House had provided.

"Americans have a right to know when their government believes it is allowed to kill them, (It would seem not in this case because it involves national security.) and that's what getting these documents" is about, Wyden said.

"I've made it very clear to the White House that we need those legal analyses before we vote," Wyden said. But he added: "There is certainly additional time to work this out."

The information is too sensitive. The program cannot risk leaks. The Congress does not have the right to dominate the power of the country's Commander and Chief role. The Congress just doesn't. As a matter of fact, the President can conduct war for 90 days without a vote by the Congress.

Presidents can claim executive privilege to withhold documents or to prevent members of the executive branch from testifying in order to protect their communications. The reasoning goes that the president’s advisers must be able to offer advice freely and without fear of censure.

The Executive Branch has been as accommodating as they can and it will have to be enough. Congress can conduct their own studies and legislate the context in which a military program is deployed. It can issue a White Paper. I suggest they get on with it. There is a chance when legislation is conducted, it might still be unconstitutional. There is separation of powers.

Peer reviews abound.

There is nothing like having journalists seek to end a hideous path of pursuit. Slate is correct by the way, the entire line that there is a threat and there is a reason to believe "The Sequester" is the deep dark plan of the evil wizard in the White House to make Republicans look bad is all over the Right Wing media, like NewsMax. I mean, hello?

All the Republicans had to do to prevent their scandalous involvement in tanking the economy again was to act responsibly and make appropriate cuts to budgets that were outdated and useless. Oh. But, wait. Those outdated and useless cuts would throw some of the most fond Republican pork barrel spending out of the budget.

Well, they couldn't do that. So they had to blame the evil wizard in the White House. Whom next will end up in the caldron of Democratic victories?

Bob Woodward Trolls The World

Bob Woodward, (click here) the legendary Watergate reporter turned reliable chronicler of insider accounts of political events, has made a series of bizarre assertions over the past week.
It started with Woodward's odd weekend assertion that the White House is trying "to move the goalposts" by replacing sequestration with a deficit reduction package that includes tax hikes. The idea of sequestration was always that it was something elected officials were going to want to replace with alternative deficit reduction. Republicans have been trying tio replace it with a package of cuts targeted at income support programs for the poor. Obama's been trying to replace it with a mixture of spending cuts and tax hikes. Either everyone's moving the goalposts (which I think is tendentious but even-handed) or no one is moving them. But it really intensified Wednesday morning when Woodward went on Morning Joe to suggest it's crazy of Obama to be applying the law as written to the military, instead of simply ignoring it.
Things moved into the absurd last night when it was revealed that National Economic Council director Gene Sperling had concluded an email disagreement with Woodward with the observation that in Sperling's view Woodward would come to regret clinging so tenaciously to an untenable position.

Everyone knock it off. The Republicans took the measure to bring down the national debt and turned it into a political strategy.

To some extent creating a side show through assigning responsibility to the original legislation is adverse to the outcome of the nation. The fact of the matter is there was plenty of reason to move forward to cut government spending in a responsible way and the Super Committee failed. The GOP continues to seek cuts to entitlements to justify military spending. The answer is "No." There is significant wasteful spending in the Defense Department; the overruns on the F35 are out of control and now the physical integrity of the engines are in question.

So, the GOP has planned to teach the President a lesson since he signed the legislation (IT WAS PASSED IN CONGRESS.) and that is what is maniacal about this. The fact the $1.2 trillion was set aside is not the problem. The problem resulted when the Congressional Supercommittee would not distribute it responsibly. RESPONSIBLY. Evidently, the Republicans can't be trusted with the responsibility of decision making, so President Obama learned his lesson; he should first seek to do what he can for the nation through the Executive Branch without the involvement of Congress as with gun regulation.

That is the lesson here. Journalists know there is a problem in the Republican House and with the use of the filibuster. To distract from that reality and the complete dysfunction of Congress is not helping the country. Nor, might I add, the rehabilitation of the GOP. I mean "The Sequester" is considered a victory by the Tea Party. This should be the future of the country? I don't think so.

Mr. Woodward is a distinguished member of the media and he should be respected in his relationships with the White House and President's staff. I don't always agree with Mr. Woodward's perspective, but, he is a good person and deserves to be treated with respect. I am sure there is more than this instance he has regretted of his own writing, but, that is his to learn for himself through peer review. It is not the place of the White House to seek to give him insight so much as the information he seeks. His opinions are valuable and that is what he seeks to render to assist his readers to find their way through the maze.

His relationship with the White House is enviable. He has earned it. Leave it alone.

The White House is worried beyond our understanding their will be any contraction in the economy. The USA economy impacts the world. The world is struggling more than the USA currently experiences. If the world struggles more it will come back to haunt the USA and entire global economy will begin a tailspin that would be a nightmare worse than the one we all faced in 2008. The stress regarding all this is evidently palpable to them.

Please stop playing with fire, okay?

The EU recognizes the need to stabilize the capital assets of it's banks.


...European Union (click here) chiefs have agreed a package of financial laws that includes capping bankers' bonuses at a maximum of one year's basic salary.
The bonuses will only be allowed to reach twice the annual fixed salary if a large majority of a bank's shareholders agrees, said Othmar Karas, the European Parliament's chief negotiator.
"This overhaul of EU banking rules will make sure that banks in the future have enough capital, both in terms of quality and quantity, to withstand shocks. This will ensure that taxpayers across Europe are protected into the future," said Ireland's finance minister Michael Noonan, who led the negotiations for 27 governments.
The bonus cap was part of a sweeping financial reform package introducing higher capital requirements for banks, the so-called Basel III rules.
The UK has been battling to stop the Basel III accord on capital requirements, fearing the impact on the City of London as the EU's leading financial capital....

I can't help but wonder if there are employees and/or former employees of banking institutions that could literally bail out them out without asking governments. It would seem to me the salaries of bank executives should not exceed a percentage of the revenues of the banks. There has to be a threshold whereby the salaries and bonuses are a drag on the solvency of the bank itself.