Friday, March 07, 2014

There are no active major storms in the area. I still remember that perfectly horrid storm that occurred in the Pacific last year, Super Typhoon-5 HAIYAN.

A Malaysian Airlines flight (click here) with 227 passengers on board has gone missing - and a search and rescue team has been deployed to locate the aircraft, a spokeswoman has confirmed to ABC News.
The Beijing-bound flight departed Kuala Lumpur at 12:55 a.m., and was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m., the airline said. It went missing two hours into the flight.
The airline said there are 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members on board.

You mean the UDSA needs more than body counts?

A large winter storm (click here) swept through the southeastern United States in January 2014, dropping snow and ice on an area unaccustomed to dealing with winter weather.

Are you people for real? Did any legislator ever stop to realize what people are facing in temperatures alone and their records have to be meticulous. I don't think so.

Contact: Kent Politsch
(202) 720-7163 
WASHINGTON, March 6, 2014 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia, today repeated his appeal to livestock producers affected by natural disasters such as the drought in the West and the unexpected winter storm in the upper Midwest to keep thorough records. This includes livestock and feed losses, and any additional expenses that are a result of losses to purchased forage or feed stuff.... 

I would think dead animals due to severe weather would be easy to validate.

"The 2014 Farm Bill provides a strong farm safety net to help ranchers during these difficult times,” said Garcia. “We’ll provide producers with information on new program requirements, updates and signups as the information becomes available. In the meantime, I urge producers to keep thorough records. We know these disasters have caused serious economic hardships for our livestock producers. We’ll do all we can to assist in their recovery.” 

Ah, so, basically Congress put on a good show but no one will get a dime.

I especially like this one:

Costs of transporting livestock to safer grounds or to move animals to new pastures;

"Martha, I should have fixed that odometer last year." 


"Why didn't Joe call when he knew the storm was coming this way?"

Any delay in relief to small family farms will put them out of business. There should be no question to the integrity of request with reasonable proof of their operation. There are tax records the government can call up if they suspect fraud. This is nonsense. 

The USDA needs to arrive to the tragedy and emergency with checkbook in hand.  And maybe a calculator to do simple math. This gets real simple, acreages of crops lost, amount of feed bins ruined, animals lost and the expense to save any other stock in realizing the distance of the transport and the transport and expense of feed. Nothing to it. This is not that difficult. The farmers themselves should NOT be required to file one page of paperwork. The USDA can do it all by themselves. It is called an assessment and insurance companies do it all the time.

The USDA needs to get in their vehicles powered by ethanol produced by the corn producers and drive to the farms hit by severe weather. The farmers have far too much to do to require them to sit down and actually figure out their losses in a real way. They are traumatized and should not be treated as if they can remove themselves from their losses in order to make government agencies happy in order to survive. 

I don't know who wrote this completely idiotic requirement, but, the needs of our farmers have to be addressed in a productive and functional way.

Seven years. Amazing the lack of conscience exists.

I don't know why I should be surprised, the ash from gasification plants was once sold to farmers as an agricultural enhancement. No leaching ever discussed or any possibility the additive to the soil could cause crop damage or contamination. Agricultural land was a convenient dumping ground and they actually made money selling it.

By Timothy Puko 
Published: Thursday, March 6, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (click here) has agreed to $227.5 million in penalties and other costs to settle federal allegations that it illegally dumped large amounts of toxins into waterways in Pennsylvania and four other states for seven years.

“Today's agreement is good news for communities across Appalachia, who have too often been vulnerable to polluters who disregard the law,” said Robert G. Dreher, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.

The company will pay $27.5 million in penalties and spend $200 million upgrading its waste water treatment systems to reduce illegal discharges under the settlement filed on Wednesday in federal court in West Virginia.... 

Are the people in Bobtown actually that hungry? Oh, the pizza is about the delay due to the fire where someone died. Is that all? Traffic jams can be a pain in the neck for sure, but, I don't recall Governor Christi handing out pizza vouchers when he apologized and to think no one died there.

This just goes to prove when Americans want to be dismissive of real tragedy and it lines their pocket in some manner, no matter how gratuitous, corporations win. Real morality there, huh? I suppose the widow or family made out like bandits. A real model for the future. And to think, someday their children will reflect the same level of indifference.
March 7, 2014

...But the 750 or so residents (click here) of the hamlet of Bobtown? Not one has signed an online petition demanding an apology for the pizza offer. In fact, during a recent visit, The Associated Press found the talk of the town is more the furious response by outsiders.
“We feel it was something outside groups generated,” said Pete Novak, a co-director of the Polish American Club, a local gathering spot. None of the patrons has voiced outrage, he said, and residents laughed about how people who have never set foot in Bobtown claim to speak for its citizens.
Several people noted that Chevron’s pizza offer was made to apologize for traffic after the fire, not to downplay the loss of life.
“I thought it was pretty decent of them,” said Ray Elli, 54, who noted that the fire was about a mile outside town, on a ridge, and that people in town didn’t feel threatened....

Former US Rep. Ron Paul is correct about RT.

The news feed and programming seeks to be accurate. Often RT is first to report on events and frequently report absolute facts. I normally seek two sources of information before drawing conclusions; sometimes RT is one of those sources.

Abby Martin does speak out against violence. She is a strong advocate for civilized discourse.

The troubling aspect is Liz Wahl's statement in that RT provides Russia's point of view. RT does that without outside opinion to bring alternate views. The objectiveness is completely dependent on the journalist at the moment. Perhaps a global audience points to the lack of diverse opinion at times.

Now, there is going to be some cultural differences with some of the journalists and that of the USA audience, but, that is acceptable. Opinion is opinion and having the opportunity to hear it raw and emphatic can be a welcome challenge to my understanding at times. 

But, for a journalist to be distraught and draw conclusions stating she can't be a part of the RT media carries brevity. Ms. Wahl is worried about something. She obviously has ideas about her employment that are troubling and of concern to the media community. She obviously has words she wants to say and doesn't feel free to say them within the content of the RT media service. 

What is worse, I doubt she feels comfortable stating her worries outside of the RT media either. That brings concern for her understanding of her safety and that of her family and friends. It brings concern for her career and how she sees herself achieving within the profession. There may be some ideas and words we may never hear from Ms. Wahl and that is very unfortunate. I cannot in good conscience dismiss her and her strong reasons for resigning.

Her insight and statements also do not reflect on any other journalists within the RT news environment. Her experiences can be her own, which is not unusual for journalists. 

Published time: March 07, 2014 13:55

Former US Congressman Ron Paul (click here) responds to allegations voiced by the channel’s ex-host Liz Wahl that RT censored his interview, in which he criticized foreign intervention in Ukraine.
“The programming yesterday, as all other ones, I thought was very fair. I listened to the replay of the whole thing,” Paul said on his official online channel on March 6.
“I didn’t think it was slanted in any way. I thought what they reported was exactly what I said,” he added.
The former presidential candidate was addressing the allegations made by RT’s ex-presenter Liz Wahl, who publicly resigned on March 5 following her interview with Ron Paul. Wahl cited the Russian channel’s “censorship” of her interview with Ron Paul as one of the reasons for her resignation....

Thank you, Chairman Issa. Bad hair day?

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings is a highly esteemed member of the Congress and vital to the interests of so many in the country there is just no doubt he should never be disregarded in his point of view. He is unique.

I appreciate the apology of Chairman Issa, but, he needs to take his reflection on the hearing session one step further. Perhaps he should recall that Ms. Lerner wanted one more week of preparation before addressing the House committee. Chairman Issa may want to bring her back or allow her lawyer to provide a synopsis of information. I am quite confident Chairman Issa wants the information and not just grandstanding.

Rep. Darrell Issa motions to Republican staff members to cut off the microphone of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, left, during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday.
(Brendan Smialowski / AFP-Getty Images / March 5, 2014)

WASHINGTON – The House Republican (click here) majority shot down a Democratic effort Thursday to condemn Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House oversight committee, for the "disrespectful manner" in which he adjourned a hearing as the panel’s top Democrat was speaking.

[Updated, 10:36 p.m. PST March 6: Later, Issa said he had personally apologized to the Democratic lawmaker who was cut short during the hearing. "I just wanted to clear the air with @RepCummings," Issa said on Twitter, referring to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md).

He linked to an interview he gave to the San Diego Union-Tribune, in which he reported he had apologized to the lawmaker. "Mr. Cummings is a member of Congress who works very hard for his constituents," he said.

Issa called what happened at the hearing "an unfortunate incident" and said he should have handled the matter differently....

The Paralympics begin today, should they receive less attention than any other athlete?

Posted by: Dante A. Ciampaglia
March 5, 2014, 11:08 AM

It's October 29, (click here) and there are 100 days until the start of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The United States Olympic Committee has turned New York City's Times Square into a mini Olympic Village. More than 40 Olympians, Paralympians, and Olympic hopefuls are on hand to do interviews to get fans excited about the Games.

One of those athletes is Paralympic sled hockey player Rico Roman. He has a huge smile on his face as he talks about his road to Sochi. And when a reporter shows him a Topps card with his face on it, Roman's excitement is uncontainable. "No way! I haven't even seen that!" he exclaims.

Unlike many athletes, Roman, a 32-year-old Army veteran, never dreamed of competing in the Games, let alone having his own trading card. "But you get [hurt] overseas," he says, "and it gives you a totally different path."...

The situation with ethnic Crimea of the Ukraine is not unusal in the world.

Can the ethnic divide be any deeper in the Crimea than with Quebec? No. Quebec on many occasion has wanted to secede from the nation of Canada and with it's land mass and economy it would be a viable country. It still doesn't happen. 

Québec City (click here) is the cradle of French culture in North America and the historic heart of Québec. Since 1985, the city's entire Old Town has been placed on the UN's prestigious World Heritage List. This magical 17th-century city of cobbles, turrets and gables is the only walled town in North America and is chocolate-box pretty, ribboned with meandering alleyways distinct to the neat grid system that is the Canadian urban norm. Spend days soaking up the culture, wandering around the plethora of museums and little galleries and sampling the delicious food. 

The USA South is always threatening to secede. It's unconstitutional, but, they do it anyway. It is like rallying a portion of the electorate. It is fine for portions of any country to celebrate their ethnic strength. The USA could not ever get away from St. Patrick's Day if it tried. But, to allow such ethnicity to override an entire country's conscience and policies is completely hideous. I am quite amazed that Russia and it's president can't seem to discern the difference and consider it an opportunity for muscle flexing. It only proves the profound lack of sophistication that still lingers in Russia. Truly unfortunate.

It is absolutely astounding to realize the backward interests of Russia.

In justifying the Russian position in the Ukraine President Putin dismisses the unrest of the majority of the nation in regard to their democracy. As far as he is concerned the deaths in the Maidan either didn't occur or simply don't matter. His only focus in this matter is the justification of the Russian occupation of a sovereign nation. The militias in the Crimea are not national military and are not UN sanctioned peacekeepers. 

President Putin's position in regard to the heightened nationalism in the Crimea is not only allowed, but, preferred. Does anyone actually believe a patch of land the size of the Crimea can have a sustainable economy? Of course not. It isn't possible. Therefore, the occupation of the militias are to allow Russia to annex an entire section of a sovereign nation. That is ridiculous, especially considering there are treaties that absolutely without any doubt prohibit such actions.

Here again, is the untrustworthy decisions of a major power with Third World priorities. There is no security to investing in Russia. Annexation of the Crimea dissolves any and all contracts and agreements in order to become a state of Russia. It's ridiculous. Russia finds wavering on international law a means of politics and preferable than being a steadfast partner. President Putin has become a laughable authority by turning his back on international law only to count on military options being the best outcome for Russia's interests and future.

I suppose the dissolution of the Soviet Union was a turning point for the communists. They turned their backs on peace and prosperity to opt instead for estranging revenge in the world. Their emerging global leadership is dead and their interests in peace along with it. The only leverage Russia now seeks is that of nuclear potential in order to expand geographical borders. President Putin has sincerely dismissed the lessons of Yugoslavia.

BY 1992 the Yugoslav Federation was falling apart. (click here) Nationalism had once again replaced communism as the dominant force in the Balkans. Slovenia and then Croatia were the first to break away but only at the cost of renewed conflict with Serbia. The war in Croatia led to hundreds of thousands of refugees and re-awakened memories of the brutality of the 1940s. By 1992 a further conflict had broken out in Bosnia, which had also declare.

Truly unfortunate. The international community has no choice but to invoke sanctions due to the violation of treaties.

Elizabeth Arrott

The charges include murder, sexual slavery and using children under the age of fifteen to participate actively in hostilities

The attack on the people of Bogoro occurred in 2003.

DRC-Bogoro Victims Finally Laid to Rest
Posted by Jacques Kahorha 
IWPR on 17 08 2009 

Villagers (click here) refrained from burying murdered relatives believing ICC required bones as evidence against perpetrators.  Villagers in Bogoro, in the north-eastern province of Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, have been told that they can finally bury the remains of those who died in the 2003 massacre in the town, since they are unlikely to be needed in upcoming war crimes trials.  “The court has no more investigations,” said Luis Moreno-Ocampo, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, ICC, during a visit to the region on July 10....

There have been media monitors that have found less the optimal trial proceedings.

by Wanda Hall

May 4, 2010
Host: Dear listeners, (click here) hello and welcome to this Vox Pop on international justice. This program is produced by Tayna Radio, in cooperation with Interactive Radio for Justice, and is designed to focus on your concerns on justice. More specifically, Vox Pop programs will focus on the functioning of the International Criminal Court. Some questions were asked to a group of listeners of Tayna Community TV-Radio. Their answers will allow us to know what you understand of international justice.... 

Even after the findings, the criticism still exists. Rightfully so. If a lesser trial occurred there could be dismissal of the charges and releases of monsters. The international courts are vital to people in nations where guns rule, there can't be mistakes. The forensics and proceedings of the ICC has to be reviewed and brought to state of the art.

by Alana Tiemessen 

Thomas Lubanga, left, in front of his house in Bunia, Congo in 2003.

The verdict is in for the ICC’s first trial. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo has been judged guilty of the war crimes of conscripting, enlisting and using child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). An order of reparations and sentencing will be decided at a later date. Lubanga could possibly face life imprisonment....

Targeting Lubanga (click here)
The Lubanga case, given it was the first trial, exposed the ICC to a new barrage of skepticism and frustration among international observers and Congolese. There was some legal bungling that caused delays and threatened a trial dismissal and release of Lubanga. Legal scholars have expressed concern that this did not result in a more divided decision among the judges. But the more significant criticism focused on the justifications for the prosecutorial strategy and charges....

What’s to stop the outsourcing of justice? (click here)

Posted by Bec Hamilton
30 09 2009

Basically, Trial Chamber II had looked at the fact that the DRC was not investigating the case and then determined that this absence of activity meant the DRC was “unwilling” (invoking a definition of “unwilling” that they made up themselves - a “second form of “unwillingness”, which is not expressly provided for in article 17 of the Statute”( para 77)) and that therefore the case was admissible. By contrast, the Prosecution argued that if there is no activity by the State on the case, then the question of ”unwilling” (or indeed “unable”) does not arise, given the plain language of Article 17 (1)(a) of the Rome Statute:
Art 17(1) states: “The Court shall determine that a case is inadmissible where: (a) The case is being investigated or prosecuted by a State which has jurisdiction over it, unless the State is unwilling or unable to genuinely carry out the investigation or prosecution”...

If Ambassador Powers is to stem the crime of genocide, the ICC has to work to contain these monsters and levy findings that remove the danger from the people who are the focus of violence. I would think her interest in the efficiency of the ICC would enter her concerns at the United Nations.

Associated Press in the Hague

The international criminal court has convicted (click here) a rebel leader of charges including murder and pillage over a deadly attack on a village in eastern Congo, but acquitted him of rape, sexual slavery and using child soldiers.
Germain Katanga showed no emotion as judges convicted him as an accessory in the attack on the strategic village of Bogoro on 24 February 2003, in which about 200 people were hacked or shot to death and many women were raped and used as sex slaves.
Katanga, nicknamed Simba, is only the second person convicted since the court was established in 2002. Another alleged rebel leader originally charged alongside him, Mathieu Ngudjolo, was acquitted of all charges in December 2012....