Friday, September 20, 2013

It is wonderful to hear the Subcommittee meeting on Climate Change.

We have some heroes and currently the politics of the past have hurt Republican constituencies. Profoundly hurt the Republican districts. I would like to see Senator Joe Machin be the hero with all the Republicans that represent Congressional districts with a coal economy. I would like Senator Machin to invite Congressman Waxman to explain to these Republican Representatives how they destroyed their own economies when they would NOT vote for the expansion of Clean Coal Technology.

The Republicans ignore the danger and simply want sympathy for their constituencies. It is too late for sympathies, the nation is facing sympathies for Climate Crisis disasters caused by high Greenhouse Gas content NOW in our troposphere.

It was a campaign promise and one that was embraced by the coal industry. It is not President Obama's fault the USA House and Senate Republicans disregarded the President's promise to make coal a cleaner technology to eliminate Greenhouse Gases. 

The picture above is our new Secretary of Energy. Secretary Ernest Moniz and I am his biggest fan. I urge him and Secretary Gina McCarthy to carry out the President's directives without second thought to the failing Republican statesmen. They didn't listen. They were left behind by the natural gas industry and they are asking for sympathy. Absolutely not. The US House needs to LISTEN now and pass legislation supporting Clean Coal Technology that will remove dangerous Greenhouse Gases as a fuel. 

Exporting coal is the worst thing that can happen to Africa. Sub-Sahara Africa has other plans. They currently have pipeline issues for oil because of the level of war within the regions. South Africa is currently examining nuclear capacity to supply electricity to cities such as Johannesburg. The coal industry and their union miners have been LEFT BEHIND because their Congressional districts are represented by Republicans hooked on cronies and rhetoric. The Republicans have destroyed the potential for American coal. They need to realize their folly and get over it or the constituencies need to realize they are not well represented in Congress.

Finally, today there was an entire afternoon of hearings regarding the Climate Crisis. There is no reason for the American people to believe the President has the country on the wrong path; it simply is not true.

What good did denial do to any Republican constituency?


Public Health Care Insurance Exchanges are not the answer for everyone.

Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:07pm EDT
(Reuters) - Walgreen Co, (click here) the largest U.S. drugstore, is moving 120,000 employees to a private health insurance exchange where they can choose a plan from multiple insurers, a sign of the shifting landscape for corporate healthcare because of rising costs.

The pharmacy chain and 17 other large employers will offer their employee insurance for 2014 through the Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange, part of a national move in which companies are playing a less direct role in providing health insurance coverage themselves....

Walgreens have taken the legislation seriously and created their own health care exchange option for their employees to increase their choice according to need. I think it is great and I believe this was inspired by The Affordable Care Act.

Health care costs are an issue. The Affordable Care Act states any premiums collected by any insurance company has to reflect 85% of their expenditures. Costs are important and the more the cost is contained the better the premiums will become. 

...The end-cost of these plans sold on these different types of exchanges depends on the plan chosen, but the purchasers will have more options than under traditional arrangements. The Aon Hewitt exchange that Walgreen is using will offer employees insurance plans from multiple companies including UnitedHealth Group Inc and Aetna....

We all know the larger the health care pool the better the subscription costs.

...Aon Hewitt says other participants in its program include retailer Sears Holding Corp and Darden Restaurants Inc. These new additions raise enrollment to 330,000 from 100,000 last year, and Aon Hewitt estimates enrollment will jump to 600,000 next year, a fivefold increase from 2012....

Aon (click here) is not a new insurance company. They provided optional insurances such as vision, dental and disability for some time. Aon Hewitt should consider becoming active in Public Exchanges if their partners are willing to participate. There are some States challenged to list Insurance Exchange participants of more than two choices.

The States need to add language to their rollout of the Affordable Care Act to protect their citizen's identity.

The Navigators to the Affordable Care Act are not required to collect personal information from anyone to provide information to citizens about their choices of health care insurance. 

Citizens should be asked to only place any information pertinent to their application for health care when their decision is complete and on the application to their choice. Citizens are allowed to ask as many questions as they like to make their decisions, but, never have to provide personal information of any kind until they apply for their health insurance.

Anyone coming forward as a Navigator seeking personal information is committing identity theft. The government can't control that, the consumer has to be educated. Identity theft happens all the time, this is an opportunity for criminal activity and the consumer needs to be educated to that outcome.

Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Management Issue: Strengthen the Integrity and Protection of the Social Security Number

Office Affiliation: The Office of Investigations
Earlier today, (click here) at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip, New York, Grigoriy Dekhkanov, a Queens resident, was sentenced to 72 months in prison for his role in a mail fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft.

The sentence was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Michael E. Seremetis, United States Secret Service (“USSS”), Long Island Resident Office, Resident Agent in Charge; and Edward J. Ryan, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General (“SSA-OIG”).

The Union complaints about the Affordable Care Act are unfortunate and short lived.

Why am I not surprised these issues are impacting the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. ie: Herman Cain. Cheap labor.

The so called unprecedented challenges to negotiations is because there are State Exchanges and employers want to 'bail' on all health care provisions in union contracts.

The Unions have to demand health care coverage according to the law by these employers. The health plans provided by these employers, including McDonalds, are substandard. The Wall Street 'cheap labor' enforcers have to take on their responsibility and provide health coverage according to the law. This is no brainer. There are plenty of insurance companies willing to underwrite large corporations for their employees as prescribed by the law.

RISING PROFIT: Royal Ahold NV, (click here) the owner of U.S. and Dutch grocery chains including Giant and Stop and Shop, says its fourth-quarter net profit soared by 75 percent.

U.S. STRENGTH: Sales in the U.S., where Ahold operates Stop and Shop and Giant, outpaced those in the Netherlands. 

SALES GAINS: Overall sales rose 4.5 percent to €7.3 billion ($9.8 billion) in the fourth quarter compared to a year earlier and net profit jumped to €270 million ($363 million).

If there is enough will by Wall Street the nation can replace The Affordable Care Act with a Single Payer System if they like. It will require political funding for those willing to pass a Single Payer System Bill.

Large Corporations have to outline the states where they carry out their business. The Unions only have to add amendments to any contract for special needs PER STATE. This is not impossible or should it necessitate impasses in negotiations. Albeit, there may be a need for an additional lawyer or two at the bargaining tables, but, this is a non-issue except where companies seek to victimize their employees and their unions.

Contracts have to contain the basics of the law in their demands for health care coverage now with a provision in the contract to revisit the health care coverage after 2014 and 2015 as the law takes effect. The health care provision in these contracts cannot be regressive or eliminate that coverage entirely. The Affordable Care Act does not change the relationship between citizens and their current health care provider EXCEPT it protects them from exploitative practices and demands exchanges for the under and uninsured. 

There is no reason for any controversy in negotiating contracts. This is a significant bill in the USA and it will provide new relationships between employees and their employers, but, there is absolutely no reason for any company realizing tremendous and unprecedented profits to turn away from this challenge.

This is simple. If companies continue to threaten the lives and wellness of their employees demanding unreasonable and unconstitutional concessions from unions in contracts then a strike is called for. The unions are attempting to honor a constitutional law and their members, but, companies are seeking to circumvent their responsibility in this relationship.

King Kullen has a very sentimental beginning. It was begun a long time ago by Michael J. Cullen. Currently, the salary structure is terrible. A Deli Clerk in Sewickley, PA is paid $8.00 per hour according to, well below the proposed $9.00 per hour President Obama is seeking in the nation. King Kullen has revenues of well over a half a billion per year. Currently the company is opening and building more and more locations. That's fine, but, they can't do that without providing for the health of their employees and they have to do that constitutionally. Why allow a company to build while their employees are living substandard lives?

Feb. 2, 2010
King Kullen Grocery Co.'s annual sales, (click here) number of corporate stores, top executive, headquarters city and website, as reported in SN's 2010 Top 50 Small Chains and Independents, plus links to other King Kullen stories.

Ranking: 2 
Location: Bethpage, N.Y. 
Top Executive: Bernard D. Kennedy and Ronald Conklin, co-chairs 
No. of Stores: 52 
Volume in $ Millions (est.): 940 
Year-End Date: 10/1/10 
Supplier: Bozzuto’s 
Footnote: King Kullen operates 48 conventional supermarkets and four Wild by Nature natural food stores.


SN’s annual list of the Top 50 Small Chains and Independents reflects sales gains at those companies
Elliot Zwiebach
February 13, 2012
The top 50 small chains and independent operators on SN’s annual list are movin’ on up. (click here)
As a group, sales estimates for those companies on the 2012 list rose 6.3% to $29.5 billion, compared with $27.7 billion a year ago.
In addition, for the first time ever, the estimated volumes of the top four companies on the list are at or above $1 billion, with The Fresh Market, Greensboro, N.C., and Grocery Outlet, Berkeley, Calif., each doing about $1.1 billion; followed by Fareway Stores, Boone, Iowa, and Woodman’s Markets, Janesville, Wis., with an estimated $1 billion apiece.
A year ago, sales for those four companies ranged from $970 million to $910 million....

Only until there are no employees on a national basis to provide tremendous and unprecedented profits, will a company finally act responsibly rather than as bullies. 

I would fully expect the NLRB to respect the constitutional demands of the unions according to the Affordable Care Act.

STRIKE and do as unions used to do, ask compassion and support of the community of the members during the time of the strike. Ask the community to support the strike knowing the more disposable income in the hands of their citizens the better the overall economy will be. I think the Unions will find support in these communities for their actions as their members are citizens as well. 

An NLRB ruling to pay back wages during a strike because of the unlawful directives of a company will provide more than enough incentive to end such corrupt corporate practices. 

Taft-Hartley is not the issue and the complaining needs to stop. If Taft-Hartley is brought up as a problem in our modern society the NLRB needs to rule. The Affordable Care Act is law and it is proven to be constitutional law. That has to be respected. If Unions are demanding legal health care coverage there should be no problem. 

The Unions need to begin to provide notice of the impending strike. Do it now and get the ball rolling.  President Obama is not Reagan. He wants an increased minimum wage, health care reform and backs labor. What?

Strikes are vital to the capacity a Union can bring improvements in the quality of life of it's members. There should be no intimidation when Unions are seeking lawful provisions in their contracts. Taft-Hartley is a non-issue. 

Sep. 19, 2013

....“The Affordable Care Act (click here) is presenting tremendous and unprecedented challenges to these negotiations,” Bruce W. Both, president of Local 1500, said in a statement. “The complexity of this 22,000-page law, combined with confusing interpretations of the law by various federal agencies, such as the Department of Labor, IRS and Treasury Department, has left Union negotiators with no choice but to proceed slowly and cautiously as we negotiate the legally required changes.

"The one factor that has not changed during these negotiations, compared to previous ones, is our Union’s commitment to provide the members of UFCW Local 1500 comprehensive health care.”...

One of the reasons the US House is NOT passing a BUDGET is because they are undecided about funding the Patent Office.

Rep. Mike Simpson (click here) is very worried about the funding for the Western USA in regard to the fires and the recovery of the nation. He states long term Continuing Resolutions will remove the funding obtained for the purpose of taking care of the people in Western states. He rather short term and/or individual bills to address the needs of the nation. He believes there are too many problems with any long term Continuing Resolution that will hurt the nation.

By Brian Resnick and Steve Ercolani 
September 19, 2013 | 1:01 p.m.

Congress's (click here) ongoing feuds over funding the government and raising the debt ceiling are confusing. 
So don't let anyone mock you at the bar later when you are asked, "What's not to get about a bill to keep funding the government that has been turned into a Republican vessel for an ultimatum to defund the Affordable Care Act?"

For those just tuning in, the basic state of play is this: The House is poised to vote on a continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare and keeps the sequester cuts in place; meanwhile, the Senate is sure to keep funding Obamacare when the CR comes its way. House and Senate Republicans have been bickering over this, with House conservatives saying Republican senators like Ted Cruz won't do enough to fight Harry Reid on the issue.

And, yeah, they need to come to a resolution by the end of the month to avoid shutting down the government. Got it? You can also think of it as a football game. Time's running out in the fourth quarter. The Republicans need to break the Democrats to get the touchdown that will obliterate the ACA. And here's how they can win, or lose. 

Among projects of the USA military possible for reduction of funding is the F-18 program. That project was cited TODAY, September 20, 2013 as a reason to reduce military government spending.


...A mechanism inside the wings (click here) of the F/A-18 Super Hornet, manufactured by Boeing Co. , is wearing out prematurely, prompting the Navy to order the company to make changes in the plane’s production as well as retrofit several hundred planes already operating off the decks of Navy aircraft carriers, according to a Navy official.
Officials stressed that they are not considering whether to ground the workhorse jet, because the problem does not affect its operation. Still, the “fatigue life issue,” if uncorrected, would drastically shorten the $50 million aircraft’s life span from 6,000 flight hours to 3,000 hours, the documents warn....

The US House needs to pass bills that supports the work and responsibilities of the nation and not just their political directives. 

Colorado disaster relief needs will more than likely exceed $100 billion State Fund. Colorado is going to need a bill as did New Jersey. I am looking forward to the RIDER on this short term continuing resolution stating severe limits on CO2 and methane emissions in the USA. I do not see ANY emergency funding for any state going forward where caused by the Climate Crisis passing without a provision and/or amendment that defines the limits on CO2 and methane by the entire nation. The 'safe limits' can be defined by the scientific community.

Biomedical Research is cut from the US House Continuing Resolution. 

Colorado floodwaters menace state's $41 billion agriculture sector (click here)

By Keith Coffman
DENVER | Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:22am EDT

(Reuters) - Colorado farmers and ranchers are bracing for widespread damage to the agriculture industry, one of the state's leading economic engines, from deadly floodwaters that already have caused property losses estimated at nearly $2 billion.

The main concern is for the state's No. 1 cash crop, corn, which yields between 140 million and 180 million bushels annually, most of it for cattle feed, according to the growers' trade association, Colorado Corn....

...Agriculture pumps $41 billion a year into the state's economy and employs - directly or indirectly - 173,000 people, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Cash from Colorado farm receipts alone totals $7.1 billion annually....

House Minority Leader Pelosi calls for unity to pass a bill that will address the needs of the country. She states,  "...this is a measure designed to shut down government, it can have no other reason, it's purpose is cuts our investments in the future, education, biomedical research, our moralist of funding is being cut...The Repubican directive in defunding the Affordable Care Act is to benefit their crony insurance industry. The bill cuts SCHIP by 70%, a bill that originally passed the House with a veto proof bipartisan majority....This short term Continuing Resolution does not provide for our families and I ask for a no vote...."

I do believe Hassan Rouhani is an earnest President of Iran.

DYNAMIC DIPLOMACY: (click here) "We must have hope for diplomacy in the world. There are a lot of very good people in the foreign service. The point is whether they are used properly. The foreign service has no real constituency. But it's important that it further America's influence in the world and continue to communicate the views of other countries to Washington." William Stoltzfus, Jr., former Ambassador to Kuwait, is a long-time Princeton resident.e

As I read his article in the Washington Post Opinion section I found myself wishing there was a US equivalent not tainted by the knowledge of violence so much as the knowledge of the way Syria was before this horrific current history.

One of the greatest Mideast diplomats the USA ever had was William Stoltzfus, Jr.. Mr. Stoltzfus retired many years ago from the US diplomatic corp and is currently 89 years old. I wish he were 20 years younger and the peer of President Rouhani at this moment in time. But, the point is there needs to be people involved in the Syrian negotiations that remember Syria as it was before radicalism took over so much of it's politics and stability. 

One of the follies of President Assad and his predecessors was to continue to claim Lebanon as if still belonging to Syria and allowing Hezbollah to act as it's agent. If there is to be a sincere peace to come out of all this President Assad has to realize he needs to live within his own borders and allow Lebanon it's peaceful place as a nation in the Middle East. 

That said, I believe President Rouhani would be a great help to the peace tables and should be allowed to intercede with the process.

To begin with President Rouhani is eminently qualified. He has engaged in Iran's government in many capacities and until the invasion into Iraq by the USA has been a partner for peaceful use of nuclear capacity in Iran. He resigned positions under the previous President to work as a diplomat within his own country (my interpretation, not his). It seemed as though he became discouraged with President Ahmadinejad and faded into the background. He then served The Supreme Leader directly for a couple years. President Rouhani is an earnest broker of peace in the Middle East, his actions and responsibilities in Iran over time stands testament to that.

There is so much to write about how very qualified this man is to bring people up to speed in thinking about these circumstances as they exist today that it would beleaguer the effort. I think I can put it this way, President Rouhani knows displacement. He was among those that were a part of the Iranian Revolution when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Iran. He knows how close the Shi'ites came to being eliminated as a peoples in the Middle East. He does not want that threat again and neither should anyone else. I believe he is uniquely President of Iran today because he does understand the deep abiding desire to be a Shi'ite and the need for recognition as a peaceful people. I don't believe he desires to 'play tricks' in any of his dealings. I also believe if the world ignores this opportunity on the timeline of Earth we will have completely missed the opportunity to end violence in the Middle East for generations to come.

These were his words during his Presidential campaign and he is living up to every one of them. We cannot dismiss that.

15 June 2013 9:34
 Fraser Nelson
...“Let’s end extremism,” (click here) he said during a campaign speech. “We have no other option than moderation.” He took swipes at the Basij, the Islamist morality police who go around asking women to veil up. He’s spoken about releasing political prisoners, and lifting internet censorship....

By Hassan Rouhani 
Published: September 19

...We must pay attention (click here) to the complexities of the issues at hand to solve them. Enter my definition of constructive engagement. In a world where global politics is no longer a zero-sum game, it is — or should be — counterintuitive to pursue one’s interests without considering the interests of others. A constructive approach to diplomacy doesn’t mean relinquishing one’s rights. It means engaging with one’s counterparts, on the basis of equal footing and mutual respect, to address shared concerns and achieve shared objectives. In other words, win-win outcomes are not just favorable but also achievable. A zero-sum, Cold War mentality leads to everyone’s loss....

President Rouhani remembers Syria as it was and not as it is. He wants that peaceful, beautiful nation to return to it's standing when there was economic wellness and people were safe within it's borders. He knows where the heart of Syria lies and it would be complete foolishness to disregard his approach and influence.

...Syria, a jewel of civilization, has become the scene of heartbreaking violence, including chemical weapons attacks, which we strongly condemn....

...We and our international counterparts have spent a lot of time — perhaps too much time — discussing what we don’t want rather than what we do want. This is not unique to Iran’s international relations. In a climate where much of foreign policy is a direct function of domestic politics, focusing on what one doesn’t want is an easy way out of difficult conundrums for many world leaders. Expressing what one does want requires more courage....

President Rouhani wrote a book about Iran's nuclear program. It was very transparent. He states that Iran's nuclear ambitions was to define it's capacity as a nation. The Shi'ites were not to be disregarded and accomplishing nuclear capacity helped define the seriousness of the country and it's abilities within it's brain trust and leadership.

He has an approach to authority that has worked for him and for Iran. But there is some degree of faux representation still lingering, unintended as it may be.

Quote: "While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the nuclear conversion facility in Isfahan. By creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work there."

I realize Iran believes they are in a place most needed by the Shi'ites as a homeland within the Shi'ite Crescent. I also realize there is great animosity leading to tensions in the region. But, Iran's actions have to speak as loudly as it's words. Iran's people have a right to be safe within their sovereign nation, but, when it comes to peace and what can be achieved, Iran has to look for reassurances other nations with greater military capacity will never breech a treaty for the sake of power gamesmanship. The USA in recent history has played games with it's power and never should have. I am quite certain in time Iran would have protected the Shi'ites of southern Iraq without the death of so many. Rouhani has to decide about that for himself.

He is a great leader of his people, both Iranian and Shi'ite. The negotiations going forward need him within the scope of all that is possible. I believe he will lead with sincere meaning and actions. 

If Iran is to be considered a great nation it has to be an honest and forthright broker. I believe it can be and I believe President Rouhani can be that leader. I believe we need to trust him, but, he has to act to validate every reason for that trust. The previous President of Iran did a great deal of damage to the image of Iran, it will up to President Rouhani to bring about the peace he seeks and bring about sustainable trustworthiness so Iran is never questioned to it's intentions, willingness or integrity.

I wish him well and look forward to a far more peaceful region of the world. I believe he can accomplish it. 

From The Jerusalem Post:

09/20/2013 03:13

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (click here) has offered on Thursday to help in peace talks between the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and its opposition.

Rouhani continued what Israel calls his "charm offensive" on Thursday night in an op-ed column he wrote for the Washington Post ahead of his visit to New York to speak at the UN General Assembly next week.

"I announce my government’s readiness to help facilitate dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition," he wrote.

In his column, the Iranian president urged the international community to put an end to the unilateral approach "which glorifies brute force and breeds violence" and instead adopt his offered approach of "prudence and hope" in which others' needs are considered "on the basis of equal footing and mutual respect."

Rouhani also stressed the importance of Iran's nuclear program , saying that generating nuclear power "is as much about diversifying our energy resources as it is about who Iranians are as a nation, our demand for dignity and respect and our consequent place in the world."