Saturday, March 09, 2013

Women journalists that cover Russian hot spots are brave people. I envy her bravery and integrity, applaud her notoriety and am thrilled as Russia's pride of her.

She also covered the massacre in Beslan by terrorists at a school full of terrorists.

I wish her continued success. 


WASHINGTON, March 8 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian investigative (click here) journalist and vocal Kremlin critic was honored Friday by US Secretary of State John Kerry, citing her “bold” and “courageous” reporting.
Elena Milashina, who covers the North Caucasus for the opposition-minded Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and eight other women from around the globe received the US secretary of state’s International Women of Courage Award on International Women’s Day.
“Regarded as one of the most experienced and influential investigative journalists in Russia, Elena Milashina has spent her career shining light on events others shy away from,” Kerry said at Friday’s ceremony, tripping slightly over the journalist’s last name.
Milashina’s reporting has included investigative work on drug-trafficking, counterterrorism operations, kidnappings and the murder of journalists, including the 2006 slaying of fellow Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
Politkovskaya, who also covered the North Caucasus, was gunned down in the elevator of her apartment building in central Moscow....

Thank you, Secretary Kerry for finding her. We are lucky to know her as a sister seeking to end violence, too.

MAKHACHKALA, March 9 (RIA Novosti) - Two gunmen (click here) were shot dead when a group of unidentified attackers opened fire on police in Russia’s North Caucasus Republic of Dagestan on Saturday, the Interior Ministry said.
Police in the village of Mutsaul, in Dagestan’s Khasavyurt district, came under attack, killing two of the assailants by the return fire.
There were no casualties among police or civilians, the ministry said.
The Islamist insurgency, once confined largely to the republic of Chechnya, has spread across the North Caucasus in recent years. Attacks on security forces, police and civilians are reported regularly in the neighboring republics of Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria.
Over a decade after the war against Islamist separatists in Chechnya ended, Russian security forces continue to fight militants in the volatile region.

Filling in the void. In 2008, the USA alone lost $1.4 trillion. Add to that Europe and other countries putting a drag on the USA and the void was huge.

I forget what this horrible woman's name is, but, she made some outrageous statements this week about the unemployment rate that others seem to think is plausible.

She stated the reason the unemployment rate improved in February was because all the people she talks to, without disclosing who the morons are, states the House Republicans are saints because they are upholding "The Sequester." Hence, that is the reason there is MORE CONFIDENCE in the private sector.

There are people that actually believe that? Because I profoundly believe that sort of MISINFORMATION is what lends politics to the House Floor rather than fact and legislation the country needs. It allows Republicans 'an excuse' with their electorate to cover up the truth and rely on rhetoric for votes. Seriously. There is no basis to fact in that assessment. If there is she needs to put the facts and assessment forward. She can't because that is not the case.

One of the reasons President Obama's investments in the USA is working is because the Fed has backed him up. That is a fact and it is indisputable. Fact. It took Bernanke a few trial runs of Quantitative Easing to realize he was screwing up, but, finally he did something that would support the USA President rather than the Chairman in China.

This last set of money releases stated it had to provide benefit to the employment rate of the USA. He qualified the monies. There is still a lot of money being pumped out by the Fed, but, that is to facilitate the void of investment monies while the other monies released earlier in QE 1 and QE2 remained in play. The void is being filled in finally. The private sector was more than willing to have cash flow while they rebuilt their client base in the USA.

That is what the USA employment rate proves. Not to say the investments made by the President into the USA economy through actual needs of the country hasn't done it's work. It has. It definitely has. But, at that same time the Fed focused the private sector. So, it helped. It relieved the federal government of it's drive to employ by filling in the huge void left in investment by the previous administration, namely Bush/Cheney. Tax cuts during two wars was not healthy for the USA, it caused harm to the Middle and Lower income citizens while degrading our infrastructure. The tax cuts were substantial to benefit political cronies and personal wealth while the Republican Congress spend stupid amounts of money such as monuments and not bridges, on amusement parks and not schools. 

But, the reason the unemployment is improving is because the VOIDS are being filled in. On the government side, it is why the "Infrastructure Bank" which President Obama proposed in his American Jobs Act was and continues to be very important. The Infrastructure Bank was a public/private venture to provide a place for states to find funding for vital projects. But, who cares about that, right?

I would imagine, even though the unemployment rate is still above 6% that Mr. Bernanke is starting to look at interest rates again. Since he has instituted the QE3 program there has been consistent improvement in the unemployment rate. He is looking at that trend and estimating at what point will the lending be too much. He may already know where the unemployment rate is going to be 6%. If he doesn't know exactly when, then he is guesstimating where that might happen. He has to put on the brakes before the monies go to far.

So, for me? I am estimating the same thing and looking at investments I might decide to move in the future. It is all good news. Quite frankly, President Obama did remarkably well when on considers he has been able to rebuild the USA economy without much help after 2010. He did and is doing great. He, like Mr. Bernanke, is reluctant to end his enthusiasm to soon. The economy and employment is still very fluid. Hopeful, but, fluid. So, they are both correct. Obama / Bernanke still have both oars in the water and rowing hard. 

The President may have appeared to have overshot with his last tour of the country regarding the economy, but, he didn't. Not at all. He definitely did a favor to the Virginia legislature when he pointed out what was occurring in that state. Virginia needs to diversify more in it's economy. I don't know about social diversity, that can sometimes improve economies too, by the way. But, Virginia relies a lot on free military money. There has to be a balance and there has to be leadership that knows it is important to be more than just an arm of the federal treasury.

I congratulate President Obama for being as dedicated to making an impression on the people in regard to the economy. It ain't over yet.

A premise the Republicans use for continuing a war... to not waste the lives already lost. Everyone knows that is not a reason to continue a war. Why lose more people when the war is basically lost. 

What I find interesting and far more logical and reasonable is the common plea from survivors, families and friends that have experienced gun violence in the USA. That plea from them to their government, is "...we are alright, but, be sure my son/daughter/husband/wife/mother/father did not experience this or die without a meaningful conclusion to this loss we all own now."

There is a common thread there. Democrats and those that have experienced gun violence / domestic violence want to uphold the dignity of life by seeking change to the laws that are required to protect us all. It is a common thread the Republicans understand when they seek to maintain a military engagement. 

Common understanding. One of persons lost because of a military engagement for national defense of persons prepared to survive such a battle. One on the other hand people / person lost due to violence on USA streets. Streets where the equity of life is not the same for all. Some poor, some wealthy, some able to own guns, some not. So, the common thread really is not the same except for the 'feeling' or 'idea.' In fact that common thread is based in inequity. A common understanding of loss of life that sincerely not the same but 'taped into' to find sympathy for a failed war engagement.

What is interesting about that 'common ground' is that the relationship is based in wealth, isn't it? There is no equity in comparing soldiers prepared and armed for war and those citizens on the streets of the USA that soldiers seek to protect.

The real common ground is wealth. The wealth others reap from a military economy. We all know the assessments of the past where the USA economy benefits from the 'war economy.' So, when Republicans state, we need to continue a war for the sake of those lost, they aren't really saying the same thing regardless of the common ground of understanding with victims of gun violence on the streets of the USA. They aren't saying the same thing at all.

Americans facing a 'street' where there are too many guns are sincerely victims. Soldiers are not victims. The families experience similar loss and the feelings are the same for those dead and missing among the love of a family, but, the loss is grossly different. It is different on a societal level. It is. That delineation is there and it is an honest delineation.

So, what I find oddly convenient for Republicans is that they seek to make the family's loss of a soldier a higher order of social structure than that of a victim of gun violence due to the high number of guns on the streets of America. The Republicans literally corrupt the moral content of war. They corrupt the moral content of a country that honor the loss of their soldiers and they do so for the sake of wealth.

In the case of victims of gun violence, the Republicans take a 'line' on the same venue of wealth. They undermine the highest order of the value of life in the USA and honor instead the wealth of those that exploit the safety of a nation. Literally, people in worship of God, people attending a movie, children in an elementary school are DEPERSONALIZED by the very governments that are suppose to protect them. 

Is that dangerous to the very society the USA claims to be the pride of the world?

The political problems in the USA are profound. They are so very profound the governments won't protect the very electorate so much as manipulate their loyalties in the voting booth through expenditures of wealth. 



That very society of the USA cannot claim to be that shining city on the hill, now can it? Is a Taliban militia that seeks to use examples of citizenry by beheading one here and one there on a former soccer field or hanging an occasional adolescent from a tree in the town square to TEACH lessons any worse than those that turn their backs on Americans slaughtered by the gun lobby / industry? I know what I think. I also believe soul searching needs to be a real value of those that can't commit to make the USA safer rather than a market place.

Oh. Is the analogy too severe? How about that?


There is a lesson being taught to the people of the USA by the NRA and the Republican Party and that is; if you don't arm yourselves you will die and we don't give a damn if you do.

It would seem as though "Quicken Loans" provides access to purchase housing, they just don't give a damn if a soldier keeps the house, though.

Is there any chance the USA military can actually offer the members a Credit Union? A federal credit union. Credit Unions are owned by their members. Credit Unions put money into educating their members. They hold seminars about managing money and home ownership and the appropriately priced automobile to purchase for the income one has.

Mar 04, 2013

Four large U.S. banks (click here) seized more than 700 homes of active-duty military personnel after the housing bubble burst, their reports to regulators say.
The New York Times reported Monday that Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup uncovered hundress of cases of wrongful foreclosures of military personnel that occurred between 2009 and 2010.
The Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency had ordered the largest mortgage lenders to hire independent consultants to review mortgages after the controversy erupted in 2010 over banks hiring so-called foreclosure mills to handle a mountain of delinquent loans....

I realize 'base housing' is provided in many instances, but, perhaps some career military might like to purchase the homes they live in while they are serving. ie" Hawaii. Hawaii never sells land, but, leases it as if a purchase for 99 years. So, if one purchases a leased home or property, it is there for them to treat as their own for as long as they care to. Equity and all.

The similar relationship exists with Lower Manhattan. The owner of the buildings in Lower Manhattan isn't really an owner; the NY-NJ Port Authority owns the land, but, a business person leases it for 99 years to make money from the structures built there.

So, for those that seek the military as a career option, they should have the ability to live on base and build equity in a home if they care to.

Oh, the 'thing' with these lands is that they are limited and valuable. So, for one person to purchase and own land in special places prohibits the land from ever being used for any other reason. One family could purchase the big island  of Hawai'i and dominate it's use. That could result in lost service to the citizens and ECONOMY there.

99 years is a long time, but, most buildings are expected to maintain their integrity for at least 50 years with only maintenance. So, basically, a 99 year lease is passing on the right of the land for two generations while giving the people/government the right to review the benefit of the land use under a lease holder. I am quite sure in the instance of very valuable lands that leverage economic benefit such as Lower Manhattan, if the land is not developed there are provisions in the lease that would bring review of the land use before the expiration of the lease, too.

It is just something I thought the military might consider. Base housing is important. The well being, family life and education of families belonging to officers and otherwise should have the option of investing in their future, too. Something to think about. 

I do know there is military housing frequently under utilized as well. So, it is a venue for the future that might even provide a sustainable operating income to some extent for a base such as a movie theater or some kind recreational fields. I would think if owning and living on a piece of the real estate would bring about a more vibrant economy, there is nothing wrong with that so long as the security of the base is maintained.


I would think any income a base could generate on it's own should center around providing happiness for those that serve. It would be nice. A campus, so to speak.

Army Pushes for Better Base Housing (click here)

Mar 01, 2013

Oh. One other thing.

For the nine years I have now enjoyed the resort area of Traverse City, the revitalization was not limited to just Traverse City.

The entire area, including economies from Interstate Route 75 all the way to Traverse City has been revitalized. There is even a new casino that has sprung up about six years ago. It doesn't have beach front either.

It is called a SUSTAINABLE economy. That is what a sustainable economy looks like. Logging on a 1 to 1 ratio of state forests doesn't accomplish a sustainable environment yet alone a sustainable economy.

The most successful economic upturn in Michigan and quite possibly the USA is Traverse City, Michigan.

I witnessed it, in its entirety and I know it works. I was a tourist. Nothing more. I was a spectator. It works incredibly well. They didn't cut down trees either.

The Traverse City Film Festival will be celebrating it's ninth year this year. I think that is correct. It just finished up a new venue of ART in the Winter Comedy Festival.

The TCFF was begun at the same time "The State Theater" was coveted by a very controversial and despised documentarian by the name of Michael Moore. The Oscar award winner for "Bowling for Columbine." 

Michael is from Flint. It is where he was raised by a man employed by the USA auto industry. It is where his mother made dinner and watched as her neighbors moved away when the plants closed. It is easy to say, he loves Michigan. So, when he looked for solace during the time when Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney unleashed their war machine regardless of UN assessments and against every humanitarian directive on the planet, he found The State Theater.

To say that Front Street of Traverse City was boarded up is an understatement. It was a city in deterioration and Michael decided he needed a home for his movies and the movies of his community. He literally turned to neighbors and asked for monies to begin a legacy to documentarians and the need for justice they seek. 

The State Theater was a sound building, but, it was out of repair of its interiors and in gross need of attention. The idea to refurbish fell on the idea and loyalty of people 'who believed.' There was no reason for Traverse City to turn around. There was no real tourism, except, for a few upscale lodges that were self-contained in their ability to entertain a clientele. Literally, Big Bear Lodge has it's own log flume. Or is it water slides? I think it is water slides, they just seem like log flumes.

At any rate, the natural world was the bragging rights of Traverse City before the State Theater reopened due to a non-profit that would give a place for filmmakers. 

Today, the art community, regardless of Interlochen which has an international focus, is vibrant. The City Opera House, the Old Town Playhouse are all in excellent condition due to the revitalization of The State Theater.

Front Street in Traverse City now hosts all kinds of small businesses. Some are franchises, but, most are independent business owners. Their business model it to have every store front be diversified in their products to prevent implosion of their client base. It works. One can walk into many of the store fronts and ask for ice cream. While there the client might be shopping for greeting cards or the latest artistic nicknack or curio.

The economy that swirls around The State Theater, which supplies a community space, not just an entertainment space. They have a variety of special options on a weekly basis to the community. It is where people gathered to watch the inauguration of President Obama. But, the economy that literally is enthusiastic along Front Street required investment, not just a harvest. As a matter of fact, there are dearly few wood carvers seeking harvested wood so much as driftwood from Lake Michigan in the bay beach fronts.

So, to say the state of leadership in Michigan is more than sad when a completely OBVIOUS model for revitalization exists, is extremely accurate. 

Detroit could use re-vitalization. It could use INVESTMENT to bring about change in a meaningful way. But, to provide Emergency Managers as the only method of revitalization to sell off and destroy cities is not a democracy and is even more proof of failed leadership. 

Today, President Obama can stand proud of his accomplishments with an economy that should still be in the depths of a depression. He didn't accomplish the revitalization of the USA's economy by selling lumber. Quite the contrary, he valued the beauty of national parks and INVESTED in making them more precious and beautiful and safe so there would be more visitors and more income to the parks and to the local communities. President Obama invested. He still stands on investment and seeks to drive the USA economy into prosperity and low levels of unemployment.

Investment works. Whether it is a group of enthusiastic citizens and/or government seeking to provide quality of life to citizens, it works. It not only works, but, it works well.

Snyder and his Republicans in the State House need to go and there are very sound reasons to decide in the favor of a government that works for Michigan and brings investment to it's beautiful lake shores.

Another astounding policy by the Michigan Governor.

The Michigan Republicans have no ideas to improve the economy in Michigan. They never have, they never will. No different than Wisconsin or any other state using ALEC to destroy unions and rob the Middle Class of their incomes. 
This tactic in destroying forests comes straight out of the moral content of African rebel groups.

The fact of the matter is Rick Snyder and the Michigan Republicans have no clue what to do for the state. They figure if they can rob the Middle Class and cut down forests, the folks in the cities won't notice and they can maintain control of large numbers of the electorate. 

Look the other way, everyone just look the other way, we are making money. Morality, conscience and biotic content is hideous and stupid when people are running out of options paying the Governor's salary.

This was a method used by Ronald Reagan. He deregulated everything he could find to deregulate. So, here we are now another Reganite Governor seeking to be President someday; the forest is their favorite victim. 

This has already started by the way. This is not new. The State of Michigan has an active forest harvest. Their STATE STANDS of forest has a ratio of 2.1 to 1. That means for every tree harvested by PRIVATE CONCERNS there are 2.1 trees remaining. The Michigan State Forest Department is a very interesting group of folks. They probably name the trees for as well as they know the forests in the State. 

There are basically no sincere forests with a CORE in southern Michigan. All the beautiful forests are in Northern Michigan. A forest with a CORE is one that has species only found in dense forest. The EDGE forest is where species such as robins and blue jays live. But, the Core Forest is where dense stands supports exceptional species such as the Kirtland Warbler, now endangered.

Michigan is a home to the Kirtland Warbler. There are several locations of dense Jack Pine Forest Ecosystem that support this species. So, now Rick Snyder is demoralizing the State Department of Michigan Forests even further. I don't see them changing that ratio. A 2.1 to 1 ratio is a very aggressive program by the way. The National Forests are minimally a 5 to 1 ratio. Oh, yes, the federal government has a harvesting program. There are not sincere tree huggers in the USA, UNLESS, it is necessary to protect a special interest. 

This act of the Michigan State Congress is a desperate attempt to bring about some kind of uptick in the economy. Any kind of uptick. Please God make it happen now.

Natural resources are at the heart of the Republican bastion of hope. That is their favorite place to turn. Oil. Logging. Fishing. Anything that costs NOTHING to grow or is in a steady state (petroleum) of being is their favorite place to look for an economy. It is the CHEAPEST idea in the world. FIND a natural resource and make money by simply displacing it from it's 'steady state' to make money. Even if the public has no reason to value the product, ie: Canadian Oil Sands, MAKE THEM VALUE IT. Blood diamonds, what blood diamonds, they look clear to me.

Needless to say, this is a failed governorship and Republican lead state congress. The only hope people of conscience have in such a situation is to wait for an election where even city folks understand that a tree proves value other than wood.
March 9, 2013 5:29 AM
LANSING (AP) - The Michigan Senate (click here) voted earlier this week to curtail state regulators’ consideration of biological diversity when designating sections of state forest land, over the objections of environmentalists who said the “anti-science” bill would gut a practice in place for nearly 100 years.
The measure was approved 26-11 along party lines in the Republican-led chamber. It is sponsored by an Upper Peninsula lawmaker and backed by the timber industry. They contend the legislation is needed to prevent large areas of state-owned land from being declared off-limits to logging and motorized recreation, although officials say that is not their intention....

Don't the Taliban ever run out of human beings to blow up.

This is an Afghan National Army Soldier outside the gates of the ministry of defense where the attack occurred.

I can imagine how that works. A militia leader approaches a human being turned jihadist and states, "It is your turn to honor Allah and move on to the virgins."

Perhaps Secretary Hagel could find a way to covertly enter Afghanistan and leave without detection. Promise, we won't care about the anonymity. No one will notice, not even his greatest detractors, they are too busy finding new friends over dinner at upscale hotel restaurants and calling money donors afterward to be sure they haven't lost any.

The citizenry of Afghanistan may appreciate it more than anyone. He should consider that possibility. I think that method has been used by Presidents, but, I see no reason why a Secretary of Defense can't institute the same prerogative.

KABUL | Sat Mar 9, 2013 5:08am EST

...The Afghan Taliban (click here) claimed responsibility for the attack and said the ministry was the target. They said in a statement the attack "is a kind of message" for Hagel....

We can do without the message. We know they exist and are annoyed by the USA's presence. No reminder needed. I am waiting for the day a Pakistani drone finds it's way into the Presidential palace. Seriously. I am not joking. It is well known how entangled the Pakistani ISI is with terrorist networks. I think former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen stated the worst of the bunch was the Haqqani Network. We also know Hamas has drones. Their's was shot down by the IDF.

So, it is just a matter of time before the Afghanistan/Pakistani Taliban dominate by 'drones of power' seeking authority of Allah in every hovel. It is called global anarchy. That is what these networks are. They are sources of power over countries that like to call themselves sovereign.