Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Checks and Balances" but it doesn't relate to money.

This is a statement from compare and contrast between unicameral representation in a state in the USA, Minnesota. The debate was in the year 1999.
Responsiveness to the majority. The founders adopted the bicameral structure deliberately to frustrate simple majority rule. Double representation in a bicameral legislature fosters the balanced representation of rival interests, a more just and inclusive goal than mere majority rule.
This was 6 days ago from the BBC, in regard to the rating of the Ukraine. And yes I believe the structure of the Ukraine legislature and the country's credit rating is related.

Standard & Poor's said (click here) the downgrade reflected "our view that the political situation has deteriorated substantially". 
It downgraded the economy by one notch, from CCC+ to CCC.

Ukrainians are protesting about the government's plans to forge closer ties with Russia rather than with Europe.

S&P also put Ukraine on a "negative outlook", suggesting further downgrades could be possible.

"We believe [the current situation] raises uncertainty regarding the continued provision of Russian financial support over the course of 2014, and puts the government's capability to meet debt service at increasing risk," the agency said in a statement.

"We consider that the future of the current Ukrainian leadership is now more uncertain than at any time since the protests began in November 2013."...

If I may?

There are days in the USA one wishes there was only a decent President to lead the country and there are other days when some wish the US House was disbanded forever, but, the USA legislative system provides a vital component to the democracy. 

The Ukraine has maintained an old system from the time of the Soviet Union whereby the legislature decides the laws of the country by simple majority. There are 450 members to the Ukraine legislation. All any legislative action needs is 226 votes to pass. Passage is highly possible in such a unicameral system.

The unicameral system was initiated and over turned the presidency and is now forming a transitional government. It is all within the Ukraine constitution and completely legitimate. But, now that the Ukraine is moving to a democracy they have longer for and is seeking fiscal stability it may be time to change the methods of legislation.

This is not about the judiciary or the executive branch it is about the legislative branch and process. Keep in mind the USA is a much larger country as well.

In a two house legislature such as the USA it gives the people more representatives and therefore more opportunity to be represented. But, there is an additional character to the two house process which increases the fiscal stability of the country. It slows down CHANGE.

The financial markets don't like rapid changes, especially in government. The financial markets like stability and some degree of predictability. Basically, they are cowards, but, that is the way it is and has been; hence; the name "Bulls vs Bears."

When financial institutions witness rapid governmental change as occurred in the Ukraine it scares the livin' daylights out of them. Imagine having invested a half million dollars US in alternative energy in the Ukraine. A private investor. Of course, the investment is expecting a return for profit. That profit returns 'cash liquidity' to the investor so there can be future ventures. Now, imagine a rapid change in government and the presidency and legislature is over turned. The new government decides it is in the nation's best interest to nationalize all utilities for their own benefit. The investor will be abandoned and will lose their investment capital and any potential to profit. 

If a country's constitution has a two house legislative system the rapidity to change is slowed down. The legislation has to pass two houses. Now, it can move quickly, however, it divides the legislators into two autonomous bodies where minority members are not severely outnumbered. That process usually creates what the USA values as "checks and balances." It creates 'an environment' whereby a legislation can be examined by two separate houses of government from a point of view that is probably different. In other words, the legislation has more eyes at it. Sincerely, there are more people examining the issue. Legislation is not simply words on a paper. It is the life and breath of the people in representation by their elected officials. 

Legislation carries a great deal of brevity. So, to slow the process of change down and a chance for many to look at the issue including an awareness by the business and citizen community provides a better platform for a country to conduct a budget. A better focus. A long term view.

When the business and citizen community are aware of legislation and it may or may not please them there will be input to the final outcome. When a piece of legislation is finalized and signed by the Executive Branch the change it brings is now expected and anticipated and the people are ready to engage that change. These processes when they work well proves to potential investors they have a say in the processes where their investment exists as an interest of the people. 

The really neat thing about the USA legislature is that the two houses have different terms of service. One, the Senate, is a six year term which provides far more experience to exist within the legislator. The second, the USA House of Representatives, has only two year term. It allows the people a greater voice in that if their legislator is not carrying out their best interests. Only two years and if the representative is not doing a good job they are voted out. 

When the politics is good and benevolent in the USA to the people of the nation, the system works really well. Compromise between minority and majority parties often occurs and those with minority representation are not left out of the process. The USA is an old republic, so currently the politics are somewhat rhetorical and dysfunctional, but, the people are recognizing the problem and the legislative process is somewhat improving. 

I don't know if having two legislative houses is what the Ukraine needs, that is up to the people and their leadership. But, I do know they need to realize their fiscal responsibility has to get better. The Ukraine has to become respected as a reliable partner in fiscal matters. This was just an idea that I thought might be something to consider. I wish them well.

There seems to be confusion between reporting agencies.

Someone have film and/or witnesses about all this?
28 February 2014, 06:09

Simferopol international airport (click here) in Crimea is operating normally, media reports that it was captured are untrue, airport employee told RIA Novosti news agency by telephone.

Earlier, some media reported about the capture of the airport by unknown gunmen.

Egor Piskunov @egorpiskunov_RT Follow

The unidentified men (click here) arent hostile nor are they making any threats or demands but have the airport under their control it's working normally

How many acres of precious farmland is being lost in the Midwest if a pipeline is built?

Pipeline easements vary from property to property, but many are 50 feet 
wide, being 25 feet on either side of the pipeline.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is a proposed 1,179-mile (1,897 km), 
36-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline beginning in Hardisty, Alta.and 
extending south to Steele City, Neb. 

One mile contains 5,280 feet. 5280 X 1179 miles = 6,225,120 linear feet.

6,225,120 linear feet X 50 linear feet = 311,256,000 square feet.

1 acre = 43,560 ft²

311,256,000 ft^2 / (divided by) 43,560 ft^2 = 7145.5 acres of precious
US farmland will be lost to pipeline easements without any spill. This is 
just in constructing the pipeline.

7,145.5 acres of USA farmland lost. A acre is already squared. It has width 
and length. 

The average size of an American farm is 441 acres today.

Taking 7,145.5 acres in an easement is like putting 16.2 American farmers 
out of business. That is so long as there is no spill. The average American 
farm is less than 1 square mile. 

1 Square Mile = 640 acres

7145.5 acres / 640 acres = 11.16 mi^2 (square miles) 

11.16 square miles is like taking Brownsburg, Indiana with a population 
of 21,285 people off the map.

Farmland in the Midwest sells for about $2360 per acre. The loss to the 
value of tax assessments is 7,145.5 acres X $2360 =$16,863,380 annually.

The national report on cropland (click here) cropland values increased by 
30.4 percent to $2,360. Nebraska led the way with a 35.8 percent increase, but North Dakota posted a 29.8 percent increase to $1,350 per acre, and South Dakota had a 24.7 percent increase to $2,320 per acre. Northern 
Plains (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) 

Those are real estate values, it does not account for lost income from 
4.95 million acres of corn 
4.1 million acres of soybeans 
3.6 million acres of hay 
2.8 million acres of wheat 
2.4 million acres of alfalfa 
467,000 acres of sunflowers 
70,000 acres of oats 
35,000 acres of millet 
11,300 acres of pulse crops South Dakota consistently ranks in the top 
ten for production of several crops. 

2014-15 crop year, the U.S.D.A. (click here) is calling for $3.90 per bushel corn, $9.65 soybeans, and $5.30 wheat.
Does anyone stop to realize how hard these farmers work, how much they
contribute to this country and how they contribute to the balance of trade?

Commercial red meat production, 2012 – 7,284,000,000 lbs.
Commercial cattle slaughter, 2012 – 6,730,400 head
Commercial cattle slaughter, 2012, live weight – 9,163,177,000 lbs.
Great Northern beans production, 2012 – 1,087,000 cwt.
Irrigated land harvested, 2007 - 8,558,559 acres
Popcorn production, 2007 – 294,541,958 lbs.

All cattle and calves, Jan. 1, 2013 – 6,300,000 head
All cattle on feed, Jan. 1, 2013 – 2,550,000 head
Pinto beans production, 2012 – 1,833,000 cwt.
Beef and veal exports - $742,000,000

Corn for grain production, 2012 – 1,292,200,000 bushels
Net farm income, 2011 – $7,456,742,000
All dry edible beans production, 2012 – 3,193,000 cwt.
Proso millet production, 2012 - 660,000 bushels
Corn Exports - $1,639,400,000

Cash receipts from all farm commodities, 2011 –$21,814,979,000
Cash receipts from all crops, 2011 – $11,754,013,000
Cash receipts from all livestock and products, 2011 –$10,060,966,000
Land in farms and ranches, 2011 – 45,500,000 acres
On-farm grain storage capacity, Dec. 1, 2012 –1,110,000,000 bushels
Off-farm commercial grain storage capacity, Dec. 1, 2012 –863,470,000 bushels
Soybean Exports - $1,434,900,000

Agricultural exports, 2011 – $6,930,000,000
Soybean production, 2012 – 207,085,000 bushels

Harvested acres of principal crops, 2012 – 18,896,000 acres
All hogs and pigs on farms, Dec. 1, 2012 – 3,000,000 head...

The United States is blessed (click here) with more arable land 
than any other nation on earth. Still, only about one-fifth of our
land area (408 million acres (2007))(*2)is used for crop production. 
Grazing land for livestock accounts for about one-fourth of the 
privately held land in the U.S. (613 million acres (2007)(*2). 
In spite of a growing population and increased demand for 
agricultural products, the land area under cultivation in this 
country has not increased....

In Canada (click here) there are 205,703 farms as of 2011, The size of a 
Canadian farm is 315 ha (hectacre). A hectacre is the equivalent 
of 2.47 acres. Canada is not giving up any productive farmland to
TransCanada, the USA is.

205,703 farms X 315 ha X 2.47 acre = 160,136,271.7 acres

The USA has about 408 million in agricultural production and there
are no new acreage coming into production. The USA has about 2.6
times the amount of agricultural land as Canada only has 160 
million at the very most.

The USA exports a lot of grain to other nations. I welcome any 
of the recipient countries and the United Nations to send comment 
to the US State Department by March 7, 2014.

It is commonly said,"The US feeds the world." 

Canada has absolutely no agricultural 
land on the line and this level of 
insensitivity to the eroding agricultural 
land globally needs to be known by the 
USA State Department and I would 
estimate the Canadian Foreign Affairs 
Minister John Baird should be aware 
of the lack of regard TransCanada has for the global hungry.

I am sure I don't have to tell the US State Department the USAID 
program provides $1 billion in grain to other needy nations per year.

People queue at a USAid distribution point in Port-au-Prince. 
Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

On February 5, 2014, the Federal Register published a notice that 
invited members of the public to comment on any factor they deem 
 relevant to the national interest determination that will be made 
for the Presidential Permit application.

The Ukraine has a unicameral legislature. It is unclear at this point whether all 450 seats will be in play in the May elections.

The elections in May will decide the President. The President then selects a Prime Minister and a cabinet. There is only one house of the legislature. There may be many seats open in the Ukraine legislature in May due to fairly resent resignations.

The theme of 'unity government' is actually held in esteem within the Ukraine Constitution.

KIEV, Ukraine — Standing before a crowd of tens of thousands (click here) in Independence Square, the center of the three-month civic uprising that ousted President Viktor F. Yanukovych, the lawmakers temporarily controlling Ukraine announced an interim government on Wednesday night to be led by Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, a veteran public official.
The public presentation of Mr. Yatsenyuk, who will serve as acting prime minister, and more than 20 other proposed cabinet members, was a frenetic effort by establishment politicians to win the backing of the street protesters, whose persistence in the face of the deaths of more than 80 people last week in clashes with the police ultimately forced Mr. Yanukovych from power.
 As the names of the proposed ministers were read from a stage — with flowers and candles blanketing the square in memory of the dead — it became clear just how completely the ordinary people on the street had seized control of the direction of Ukraine. Desperate for the crowd’s legitimacy, officials felt compelled to present the slate on stage in the square before putting it up for a vote by Parliament....

The opinions are already taking shape, so the elections should be interesting.

...“We need to change these faces,” said Alyona Murashko, a 28-year-old marketing specialist who was carrying groceries and had stopped in the square on her way home from work. Ms. Murashko said that she approved of the choice of Olga Bogomolets, a doctor, singer and activist, as deputy prime minister for humanitarian affairs, and of Tatyana Chornovil, an activist and journalist, to lead Ukraine’s anticorruption bureau.

Ms. Murashko, however, said she opposed Mr. Yatsenyuk and many of the other choices. “I wouldn’t like to see him even temporarily,” she said. “No one from current political parties.” Ms. Murashko said she was glad that presidential elections would be held in May but wanted parliamentary elections “as soon as possible.”...

The controversial Crimea province believes it can be another Abkhazia. I doubt that will occur any time soon or in the near future. Abkhazia and South Ossetia were established because of the attacks from Georgia. Autonomy of these two regions provided peace to these ethnic areas.

The US has offered Ukraine's struggling economy (click here) - which faces default - loan guarantees of up to $1bn (£600m).
Meanwhile, Mr Yanukovych has been put on the international wanted list.
The fugitive president - whose whereabouts are unclear - is accused of being behind last week's deaths of more than 100 protesters at the hands of riot police in and around the Maidan.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington planned to offer Ukraine the loan guarantees to help stabilise the country's economy.
Mr Kerry also warned Russia it would be a "grave mistake" to embark on any military intervention in Ukraine...

The idea a Crimean separatist government can offer Russian citizen is a bit unrealistic on an international recognition. How does one country know the difference between a Ukrainian and a Russia? I don't believe that will be accepted internationally.

Published time: February 27, 2014 10:58

The head of the center-left Fair Russia party (click here) says a bill allowing any Ukrainian citizen Russian citizenship will be submitted to the Lower House in the near future.

A few days back the LDPR party submitted a bill allowing for a simplified citizenship procedure for Ukrainian citizens of Russian descent. We are lodging an initiative that would allow any Ukrainian who wishes to receive Russian citizenship to do so under a simplified procedure,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Sergey Mironov as saying at a party conference in Moscow.

The politician also suggested that Russian law enforcement consider giving jobs to former members of Ukrainian Berkut police unit, with possible further citizenship for them. “If any of them find it attractive to work in Russia we should give him a place in our police and other law enforcement structures in accordance with his rank and qualifications,” Mironov stated....

Sorry to hear there are armed gunmen in Crimea, especially with the recent deaths in Kiev. I can't help believe the citizens of the Crimea will reject the idea of an imperial president when they realize where money went in the lavish estate of the Former President Viktor Yanukovych.

I mean you have got to be joking. Russia is actually going to back this abuse of power and casting many in the Ukraine into poverty, while their national debt skyrocketed. No wonder the Russia monetary system is in free fall. Where is the responsibility by Moscow regarding this exhibit of wealth over the dedication to the well being of the people? Did Yanukovych ever govern or did he just fill his fists with cash?

If Moscow is going to protect the former president there needs to be a change in citizenship because no one can be serious about his return to power. I can understand the former president may need asylum until all the facts are sorted out and elections are held and calm actually returns to the government, but, to exonerate his lack of governing can't possibly be supported by Moscow.

Look at this title by Reuters. A bastion of resistance? I don't think so. American media is a joke, they never know what is war and what isn't.

UPDATE 1-Crimea is bastion of resistance to Ukraine's new rulers

Everybody go to guns now. Americans never get a break from believing their nation is about to launch into war with Russia.

As the Ukraine restructures it's debt it would be helpful if Europe and the USA hold a summit following the May elections to review 'the old Soviet' style government as opposed to most democracy operate. It may be the government structure that is causing such terrible fiscal problems.

The FDA Super-Size labeling is incorrect.

The idea is to establish what are 'normal' servings and then have the industry adjust the labeling for consumers. In the example to the left is noted "Serving Size" as 2/3 cup (55g).  The label then reflects the actual information about 'the serving.' 

This new labeling will lead to better information to consumers regarding the nutrition of the exact serving.

By Maggie Fox

Official serving sizes (click here) are finally catching up with modern eating habits.
A 20-ounce soft drink would now be a single serving, and so would a whole cup of ice cream, under a major revamp of the familiar food label being released Thursday.

Federal health officials are proposing the first changes to food labels in more than 20 years, and they plan to bow to the reality that Americans do indeed guzzle down those giant bottles of soda in one go, and that half a cup of ice cream just plain doesn't cut it....

..."For certain packages that are larger and could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings, manufacturers would have to provide 'dual column' labels to indicate both'per serving' and 'per package' calories and nutrient information," FDA says.

"Examples would be a 24‐ounce bottle of soda or a pint of ice cream. This way, people would be able to easily understand how many calories and nutrients they are getting if they eat or drink the entire package at one time."...

First Lady Michelle Obama is still seeking a safer nutritional outcome for a child's day at school. The First Lady started her program to stop childhood obesity in recognition of life long health problems that can even cause birth defects in babies.

William Seay

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) First lady Michelle Obama (click here) continues her crusade against childhood obesity and nutritional health among youth.

"Our classrooms should be healthy places where our kids are not bombarded with ads for junk food," Mrs. Obama said at a recent press conference.

New rules proposed by Mrs. Obama and the U.S. Department of Agriculture would eliminate advertisements for unhealthy food and drinks in schools.

"Parents should be in control of their kids' health and their efforts should not be undermined when they send their kids off to school," Mrs. Obama said.

It would mean hallways and scoreboards with Coke or Pepsi advertisements would have to be changed - no logos allowed....

The new push comes on the fourth anniversary of Mrs. Obama's "Let's Move" initiative....

Department of Defense grant lowers unemployment among South Carolina National Guard.
February 26, 2014 

— A program (click here) that has slashed unemployment to less than 4 percent from 16 percent in 2011 among S.C. National Guard members is being expanded statewide....

... The program, with the help of a $750,000 Department of Defense grant, will pair unemployed veterans with S.C. Guard employment advisers who are located in the 12 S.C. Works regional offices of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
The advisers will work one-on-one with the service members to literally translate the skills they learned in the military with businesses that want to hire veterans....

However, there are some veterans that seem stranded with discrimination.

Feb. 19, 2014

Written by B.C. Kowalski
Stevens Point Journal Media

Gabriella Barrett, 23, right, poses for a picture on Veteran's Day at Square Scoops in Stevens Point with owner Norb Hojnacki. The ice cream shop held a special for Veteran's Day. / File photo
STEVENS POINT — A local Army veteran (click here) is reconsidering taking a job at a major Stevens Point-area employer after the company’s employment recruiter told her soldiers don’t defend freedom and only serve for their paychecks.
Gabriella Barrett, 23, of Stevens Point was told in January that she had been accepted for a customer service job at the local company after the company’s recruiting contractor, Randstad, screened her. She intended to start the new job after a visit to Arizona, but while in Arizona, Barrett received an email from Sergio Ortiz, a recruiter at Randstad, that enraged her.
“I believe you choose to go into the Army for a paycheck not my freedom,” Ortiz’s email said. “So you will not be getting a thank you from me. I would have freedom regardless of your voluntary service.”...

Veterans state Republicans are compromising their legislative effort.

Feb 27, 2014

The American Legion (click here) on Wednesday slammed a move by some Senate Republicans to use veterans legislation backed by Democrats to get a new package of Iran sanctions through the chamber.
In the opening hours of debate on a bill that will extend health care to more veterans, Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire urged Senate Leader Harry Reid to allow a vote on the sanctions amendment.
An Ayotte spokeswoman said the senator is asking for a vote on the bill that would be offered as an amendment to the veterans' health care and education bill introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. 
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has an alternative veterans' bill ready to go that includes the sanctions language, according to Bloomberg News....

Enrollment in health insurance is increasing as the deadline is five weeks away.

Posted: February 27, 2014 - 12:00am
 By Charlie Patton

...In particular, (click here) enrollment by adults aged 18-34 is accelerating, said Roshell, whose region includes Florida. She said 27 percent of those who selected a plan in January were between 18 and 34 and the number of people in that group who have enrolled in a plan increased by 65 percent, from 489,000 to 808,000.
Nationally, the number of people enrolled under the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare, passed 4 million this week. More than 200,000 have signed up in Florida.
“We are continuing to see strong demand,” Roshell said. “We are moving full steam ahead with outreach.”
In Jacksonville, Doctors for America will hold an enrollment event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Tiger Academy, a charter school at 6079 Bagley Road in Northwest Jacksonville. 
The First Baptist Church of Mandarin, 3990 Loretto Road, will hold a HealthCare Jamboree from 9 to 11 a.m. March 15, where people can get information about how to sign up for insurance. Mayor Alvin Brown will hold an enrollment event March 22 at the Prime Osborn Convention Center.... 

...March 31 will be the deadline for purchasing an insurance plan that goes into effect this year unless someone undergoes “a qualifying life event” such as marriage, divorce or the loss of insurance from an employer, Roshell said. Those who are uninsured and don’t sign up will face a penalty when they file their tax returns next year. Enrollment won’t resume until Nov. 15, when people can begin signing up for insurance that would go into effect in 2015....