Wednesday, March 19, 2014

If Bush could not give them the world, maybe Putin can.

Franklin Graham praises Vladimir Putin for cracking down on homosexuality. (click here) 

BY Neal Broverman 
March 15 2014 7:41 PM ET 

The heir to Billy Graham's evangelical throne, son Franklin Graham, is telling his flock that Vladimir Putin's state-sanctioned homophobia should serve as a lesson to President Obama.
Writing in his own Decision magazine, Graham called Obama's embrace of LGBT rights "shameful," and said he should follow in Putin's footsteps. The Russian leader signed a bill that criminalizes gay "propaganda" and his government does little to prevent antigay violence....

The devil is in the details.

One of the first statements made by people in the Ukraine was they wished their had their nukes back.

By Owen Matthews 
March 19, 2014 12:35 PM EDT 

Ukraine (click here) boasted the world's third-largest nuclear arsenal. In the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR in 1991, authorities in newly independent Kiev found themselves in possession of 176 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers and 1,240 nuclear warheads, along with more than 3,000 tactical nuclear weapons....

Russia is viewed as one of the oppositional forces in the international community that refuses to bring about peaceful measures when The West brings measures to the United Nations. Other nations, primarily Third World see Russia as an ally against The West. 

It is worth noting it was Russia and not the US or Europe that invaded the Ukraine. Somehow that is dismissed by the nations that view Russia as a good ally. They might want to rethink that.

It is not the USA asking for Ukraine's soul for help with their debt issue, but, it was Russia that pulled any fiscal help to the Ukraine as soon as it was obvious the Ukraine had no further interest in being a defacto Russian territory. Russia does expect any help offered to cost the soul of a nation. 

Published December 5, 1994
The Presidents of Ukraine, (click here) Russian Federation and United States of America, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom signed three memorandums (UN Document A/49/765) on December 5, 1994, with the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Through this agreement, these countries (later to include China and France in individual statements) gave national security assurances to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The Joint Declaration by the Russian Federation and the United States of America of December 4, 2009 confirmed their commitment....

By Luke Baker
BRUSSELS Wed Mar 5, 2014 11:53am EST
(Reuters) - The European Union (click here) offered a larger than expected package of aid to Ukraine on Wednesday, saying it was willing to provide $15 billion in loans and grants over the next several years to help get the shattered economy back on its feet....

By Susana Mas
CBC News  
Posted: Mar 13, 2014 3:03 PM ET  
Last Updated: Mar 13, 2014 7:43 PM ET
With the threat of a Russian-imposed referendum (click here) on the fate of Ukraine's Crimea region days away, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced Canada will provide Ukraine with $220 million in an international effort to restore economic stability to the country.
"Prime Minister Stephen Harper is announcing $220 million in additional measures to promote sustainable economic growth, democratic development, and good governance," Baird said during a news conference in Ottawa on Thursday.
The Canadian government deems the referendum an "illegitimate stunt" and will not recognize Sunday's referendum results, Baird said.
"We condemned and continue to condemn in the strongest of terms Russia's provocative and illegal military occupation of Crimea."...

KIEV, Ukraine — In a demonstration of support (click here) for Ukraine’s fledgling government and a new swipe at Russia, Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kiev on Tuesday with an offer of $1 billion in an American loan guarantee and pledges of technical assistance.
Trudging through a damp mist, Mr. Kerry stopped first for an emotional visit to improvised memorials where protesters were gunned down last month as they voiced opposition to what was then Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin government.
Mr. Kerry placed a lighted candle at one of the shrines, which were draped with flowers and photographs of some of the victims; met with religious leaders; and listened to Ukrainians who beseeched him for help....

Once all possibilities have been exhausted it is wrong for anyone to given families false hope.

15 March 2014/last updated at 12:50AM 

ABOARD THE JINGGANGSHAN: (click here) Eight Chinese vessels on Thursday continued their search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the Gulf of Thailand, combing a total of 34,000 square km, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

The Chinese search and rescue operation for the lost jetliner involved air, water and undersea dimensions, and was expanded to the northwest, southwest and southeast of the South China Sea.

On Thursday alone, an area of 16,000 square km was scoured.
The Jinggangshan, which cruised into position on Tuesday, had put all its equipment into full use, including helicopters and steamboats, to find anything related to the missing jetliner.

It was reported that Chinese warships would continue to broaden their search to the northwest in the Gulf of Thailand before considering new plans. Bernama.

The USA is in the Gulf of Thialand.

Release Date: 3/11/2014
By Ensign Brooke Schaffer
USS Kidd Public Affairs

GULF OF THAILAND (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class (click here) guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) was one of the first responders in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that was lost sometime March 8, 2014.

Kidd is among several other Pacific nation naval air and surface platforms conducting the search mission that is being coordinated by the Malaysian government.... 

The USA is supporting the Australia effort. Vice Admiral Robert Thomas speaks on a video about the search.

The search for a missing Malaysian airliner (click here) has entered its 12th day as Australia continues to co-ordinate the search in the southern Indian Ocean, more than 3000 kilometres southwest of Perth.
Eleven days after contact was lost with Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and its 239 passengers and crew, there has been minimal progress in determining precisely what happened or where the plane ended up.
"We are still clueless at to what happened to the missing plane 12 days on," a Malaysian aviation official told DPA on Wednesday on condition of anonymity....

Chairwoman Yellen states she has a 'to do' list that includes 'Too Big To Fail.'

The is going to sign off on bond sales at the 6.5 percent unemployment rate. It is very close to the point where the Fed is moving on from the recovery and quantitative easing.

Household Survey Data (click here)
Both the number of unemployed persons (10.5 million) and the unemployment rate (6.7 percent) changed little in February. The jobless
rate has shown little movement since 
December. Over the year the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were down by 1.6 million and 1.0 percentage point, respectively. (See table A-1)

Labor Force States graph (click here)  

It is interesting, isn't it? The USA economy and unemployment rate is normalizing and the only discussion in the political world is about job creation numbers rather than the unemployment rate.

As the country finds it's stride there will be less job creation as the employed numbers improve and the circulating liquidity in the consumer markets defines demand.

Chairwomen Yellen believes the bond purchases have put downward pressure on interest rates and sees no reason to fix any interest rate at this point. She also states the QE will end in six months. 

She also stated she is dedicated to a 2% inflation rate. She will seek to adjust the interest rate to maintain an inflation rate below that percentage.

Not just a big yellow puppy.

Million dollar puppy: The Tibetan mastiff on the left was sold for more than $2 million, in what could be the most expensive dog sale ever. Photo: AFP

March 20, 2014 - 2:49AM

Beijing: A Tibetan mastiff puppy (click here) has been sold in China for more than $2 million in what could be the most expensive dog sale ever.
A property developer paid 12 million yuan ($A2.09 million) for the one-year-old golden-haired mastiff at a "luxury pet" fair on Tuesday in the eastern province of Zhejiang, the Qianjiang Evening News reported.

"They have lion's blood and are top-of-the-range mastiff studs," the dog's breeder Zhang Gengyun was quoted as telling the paper, adding that another red-haired canine had sold for 6 million yuan.

Enormous and sometimes ferocious, with round manes lending them a passing resemblance to lions, Tibetan mastiffs have become a prized status symbol among China's wealthy, sending prices skyrocketing.

The golden-haired animal was 80 centimetres tall and weighed 90 kilograms, Zhang said, adding that he was sad to sell the animals. Neither was named in the report.

"Pure Tibetan mastiffs are very rare, just like our nationally treasured pandas, so the prices are so high," he said....

To the right: Artwork depicting a Tibetan Mastiff from the Qing Dynasty. The Qing Dynasty existed from 1644 to 1912.

It is considered a member of The Working Group with the American Kennel Club. The markings are interesting. The history states a large dog similar to this mastiff can be traced back to 1100 BC. The color and markings are similar to the Chow-Chow as is the composition of the dog. But, some of the colors and markings are very similar to Rottweilers and Dobermans. Rottweilers are fairly large as well. The longer and more dense fur would be consistent with the cold weather of it's homeland. That type of fur is also found in Chow-Chows. It's interesting how adaptations actually create genetically sound breeds.

There is also two varieties of this mastiff and each variety can be found in one litter. That is not unusual for breeds that might actually be hybrids. There is a modern breed considered to be an excellent family dog called the Labradoodle. The Labradoodle is a cross between Labradors and Poodles. They come in three heights when fully grown and each one can be found in one litter. It is not a matter of birth order either. I can't help but wonder if this is a hybrid from a Chow-Chow and another breed like that of a Rottweiler. Their history is very diffuse.

They are a pretty cool dogs.

Extremely independent and intelligent, (click here) the Tibetan Mastiff may have its own agenda, so for safety, they should be kept contained when exercised. Although active while out of doors, they are usually fairly quiet in the house. Prospective owners should note - the breed is highly protective of their family and property, so it may be difficult to bring people into your home. Finally, they shed their coat only once a year, but regular brushing is still required.

Family need to support each other.

What I find odd is that Facebook hasn't resulted in 'found information.' I know for a fact Facebook reaches nations in this region of the world, yet nothing is turning up as viable information. I also believe the governments are doing everything they can.  Twenty-six governments involved in the search for a jet is new precedent. I haven't tried to figure out the costs these countries are incurring, but, it isn't cheap. 

Yes, Facebook actually finds it's way into the smallest islands in the Pacific. I am talking fishermen, too. Yet nothing. 

I don't see deleted material from a personally owned flight simulator as significant. Additionally, the airports cited as those 'in practice' with the pilot makes sense. These are remote locations that have experienced serious storms and as a thirty year pilot he would take his responsibility very seriously. These airports can be victim to all kinds of atmospheric turbulence, so I'm not surprised. There is a reason he was a successful pilot in this region of the world for thirty years. He was also thirty years older than the day be flew his first jet. He might have wanted to simply be sure he had his edge, too.

The only way the pilot and co-pilot would have purposely diverted the jet was if they being extorted or strong armed with threats to their family. I also don't see either of these men afraid to report such activity to authorities either.

A Chinese relative of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 cries as she speaks to journalists at a hotel in Sepang, Malaysia, Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

The sanctions regarding Russia isn't so much about punishment as awareness.

All sanctions (click here) are intended to persuade, to change minds and to raise the cost of courses of action.
President Putin and his close circle will on Monday have been watching Brussels and Washington, trying to decipher their determination to hurt Russia over its actions in Crimea.
The acid test is whether the steps of the West carry conviction and reflect resolve.
EU foreign ministers have taken a cautious, modest step.

Last Canadian troops from Afghanistan returned home yesterday.

Mark Kennedy, Postmedia News
Last Updated: Mar 18 8:28 PM ET

OTTAWA — Canada (click here) will hold commemoration ceremonies May 9 for the thousands of soldiers who served in the military mission to Afghanistan.
The announcement was made Tuesday morning by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as he greeted 93 soldiers at Ottawa’s military airport hangar. They were the last to return home from the war-ravaged country.
Harper said that May 9 has been designated a “National Day of Honour.”

Major oil pipeline leaks more than 7,000 gallons of crude oil into Ohio nature preserve

At this point the EPA has no clue to the cause. Isn't that great?

Why not leave the oil in place awhile so the wildlife simply becomes sick and dies. Less to worry about in the future when it leaks again. 

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- A Hamilton County park (click here) could wait weeks to be cleaned after crude oil from an underground pipeline leaked on its grounds Monday night.

Colerain Fire Department crews were dispatched at about 8 p.m. Monday after getting reports of an oil smell, and found “petroleum product” in the Oak Glen Nature Preserve near Blue Rock Road.

The Mid Valley Pipeline Company was called to repair the 20-inch pipeline's damage.

The pipeline, which stretches across the United States, was shut down at about 12:20 a.m. Tuesday. By 5 a.m., crews contained the leak and began repair work.

Crews believe about 10,000 gallons of crude oil spilled, but they've yet to figure out why the pipeline ruptured. The Department of Transportation said they'll begin investigating Wednesday....

Local small business take heart. The nation needs you.

Empty shelves become big news on investor sites (click here)

By George Anderson

March 18, 2014
"A picture tells a thousand words."
"Every picture tells a story."
"The camera doesn't lie."
We've all heard the adages before and largely accepted them. That's what makes it so difficult for stores to address photos of out-of-stocks, racks in disarray and dirty aisles taken by analysts and others. After all, if jpeg after jpeg show a store in chaos, the images must also represent what consumers can expect in other locations.
Retailers including J.C. Penney, Kmart, Sears and Walmart have all been on the receiving end of this special type of photo criticism. In most of these cases, the person taking the photo has used it as further evidence of a chain being mismanaged....

Ah, the sweet liberty of communism. They actually do need their own markets. Seriously.

Workers handle the remains of German soldiers killed in World War II near the Belarusian village of Shchatkava. Photo by Vasil Fyadosenka

Published 5 April 2013

Two Belarusian photographers (click here) have been summoned to court after being accused of organizing an "extremist" photo exhibition.

Yulia Darashkevich told RFE/RL's Belarus Service on April 5 that she and her colleague Vadzim Zamirouski face trial in the western city of Ashmyany on April 17. Darashkevich said the official letter she received from the KGB says experts found that some pictures in their Press Photo Belarus 2011 exhibit were extremist and did not reflect "the real situation in Belarus." The offending photographs were not specifically identified.

The letter states that: "... Press Photo Belarus 2011 includes premeditated [and] distorted ideas about activities in the political, economic, social, and other spheres of the Republic of Belarus.... The selection of the photo album's materials in general reflects solely negative aspects of the Belarusian nation's activities...which...insult the national honor and dignity of the citizens of the Republic of Belarus.... In accordance with Article 1 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus, any activities of citizens aimed at insulting the national dignity and honor are considered as extremist."...

The Fed is due to report in today.

March 17, 2014, 12:41 p.m. EDT
By Greg Robb, MarketWatch

...With the Fed (click here) and the markets basically on the same page on the economy, the current near-zero interest-rate policy, and the rate of reduction in bond purchases, the central bank has an opportunity to revamp its forward guidance tool, now the chief policy instrument.

“They’ve got a little room to unanchor these things,” said Lewis Alexander, chief economist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in New York.

So-called forward guidance attempts to drive down long-term rates by promising to keep short-term rates low for a long time.

The Fed has reworded its pledge throughout the financial crisis. Alexander said the early forms of forward guidance were simpler as the Fed was simply saying that it was a long way from raising rates. 

The Fed’s current pledge is to hold rates steady until “well past” the point when the unemployment rate falls below 6.5%.

But the unemployment rate has steadily dropped over the past year, before ticking up slightly to 6.7% in February...

But, the Fed is not the only focus of the markets today. There is still concern over the growing tensions with the Ukraine. Russia and China are still considered emerging markets. The instability in the region causes concern about investments. 

The concerns are not unfounded. The strides most of the First World believed was being made in these nations appears more of a mirage than real. Political instability prevents a robust investment. These countries are still transitioning into reliable sources of investment. Typical of emerging markets natural resources are still the focus of Russian investments. 

The USA also has a policy to push back against violence in nations, too. It is focused on natural resources used to support conflicts. "Conflict Resources" The entire circumstances surrounding the Crimean invasion raises all kinds of red flags for investment.

LONDON Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:35am EDT
Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai
(Reuters) - Stock markets slipped on Wednesday, (click here) while major bond and currency markets held steady ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy decision later in the day and as military tensions between Ukraine and Russia ratcheted up.
British financial markets largely followed that pattern although sterling recovered some recent losses before a raft of potentially market-moving news including the government's annual budget, Bank of England minutes and unemployment data.
Europe's major stock markets were down as much as a third of one percent in early trading, following Asian shares lower after the the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS lost 0.2 percent.
Underlying worries over China's financial and property sectors bubbled to the surface, pushing Chinese stocks lower .SSEC and the yuan to its weakest level in a year through 6.20 per dollar....
VOA News
The Obama administration (click here) is launching a new online effort to warn the public about the dangers of climate change.

The White House is unveiling a new website Wednesday,, that will let citizens, businesses and local governments take the latest scientific data and see how their communities will be affected by rising seas, heat waves and drought.

The data used by the website will be collected from the space agency NASA, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and other federal government agencies.

The website is part of U.S. President Barack Obama's efforts to boost public support for his initiative to fight climate change.

The pilot and co-pilot had family and were important men to their communities. The co-pilot was due to get married.

Amelia Earhart stands next to a Lockheed Electra 10E, before her last flight in 1937 from Oakland, California. She disappeared without a trace. Photo / AP

Thanyarat Doksone
Bangkok: Thailand's military (click here) said on Tuesday that its radar detected a plane that may have been Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 just minutes after the jetliner's communications went down, and that it didn't share the information with Malaysia earlier because it wasn't specifically asked for it....

Hollywood is insensitive. Pope Francis wants to be among the people, not on a pedestal.

March 19, 2014 - 10:45AM
Sarah Thomas
Paramount Pictures (click here) has dismissed reports that the Pope cancelled a meeting with the film's producer and star, Russell Crowe. The studio claims that no meeting was ever scheduled.
Last month, Russell Crowe appealed to the Pope ahead of Noah's Italian premiere.
Paramount has said it approached the Pope to suggest a meeting and have Crowe attend the weekly papal audience in St Peter's Square as a photo opportunity, but the Vatican nixed the idea because it could create chaos....

And Syria is worried about ONE DEATH by Israeli forces. Joking. How does Syria know there is ONE DEATH?

VOA News 
March 19, 2014 
Israel says its air force (click here) has bombed Syrian military positions in response to an attack on its forces in the Golan Heights.
The military said the targets Wednesday included an army training facility, military headquarters and artillery batteries.
The airstrikes come a day after Israel said an explosive device targeting its forces injured four soldiers. It blamed the attack on Syrian government forces.
An Israeli military spokesman called the blast "an unacceptable escalation of violence from Syria" and vowed that Israel would not tolerate threats to its forces and people....

Syria doesn't recognize the misery in it's own country brought on by it's military and it noticed one death by an Israeli strike to protect it's borders. Amazing. 

I have to wonder why the Russian people embrace Putin's presidency especially after the latest aggression into Crimea. I suppose they consider their outcomes otherwise and it looks inviting.

Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:15am EDT
(Reuters) - Israeli air strikes (click here) on Wednesday against Syrian military sites near the occupied Golan Heights killed one person and wounded seven others, Syria's armed forces said, warning that the attacks endangered stability in the region.
An armed forces statement said the strikes targeted three sites near the town of Qunaitra....

Now that Toyota believes it is at the end of it's poor quality engineering it won't make those mistakes again.

Toyota has practiced substandard manufacturing standards for some time now. Something like at least two decades if not three. Let's hope they've turned a new page.

Last Updated Mar 19, 2014 5:19 AM EDT

TOKYO (AP) - The U.S. Justice Department (click here) may reach a $1 billion settlement with Toyota Motor Corp., ending a four-year criminal investigation into the Japanese automaker's disclosure of safety problems, according to numerous reports.
Toyota declined comment Wednesday on one report, in The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources as cautioning that a settlement still could fall apart.
A Toyota spokesperson told CBS News early Wednesday that, "Toyota has cooperated with the U.S. Attorney's office in this matter for more than four years. During that time, we have made fundamental changes to become a more responsive and customer-focused organization, and we are committed to continued improvements."
The New York Times, citing a person briefed on the matter, says the deal isn't final yet, but could be announced as soon as Wednesday.
The investigation focuses on whether Toyota was forthright in reporting quality problems related to unintended acceleration troubles....

No one had greater hopes for a productive relationship with Russia than former Secretary Clinton.

I am quite sure she was as surprised as Europe at the deaths and continuing aggression by Russia. It will take a little time to get the Ukraine and other post soviet nations up to speed to protect their boundaries.

Wednesday 19 March 2014
Heather Saul

...Pro-Russian troops (click here) stormed a Ukraine navy base this morning as Hillary Clinton warned other countries near Russia face aggression if President Vladimir Putin is “allowed to get away with” his actions, hours after he signed a treaty on the annexation of Crimea....

..."If he's allowed to get away with that, I think you'll see a lot of other countries either directly facing Russian aggression or suborned with their political systems so that they are so intimidated that in effect they are transformed into vassals, not sovereign democracies," Clinton said at an event hosted by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal at the Palais des Congres....

This aggression is completely inappropriate from a nation considered a permanent member of the UN Security Council. The land, the military assets are all part of the Ukraine and paid for by the people of that country. The willing annexation of Crimea was never discussed with the Ukraine's authority and payment for separation and assets was never made. This is an invasion into the Ukraine. It can't be called anything else.

The people in the Crimea were under no death threat. None of this is civilized and within international laws. It's ridiculous.  I really think Russia's relationship with the First World nations is permanently damaged. I doubt there will be many smiles and hand shakes anymore.

The relationship between the US and Russia has a history now of being strained. President Obama has rarely liked being in the presence of Vladimir Putin. He was distant at the G20 in Russia and obviously disenchanted with Russia over Syria. This distance and economic sanctions have been in the making for at least the past year. It was an easy decision for most of the G8 to distance themselves. There is something going on with Russia that is taking shape and this is the beginning of building a wall that will last for awhile.

Russia counted on being important to all the summit meetings to stave off the invasion into the Crimea. It never expected The West to actually take a stand. Russia has miscalculated a great deal this time. Russia is basically isolating itself economically. I think it is a position that is a comfort zone for Russia and in the same measure China. 

Communism is about control and The West has moved past all that. The West much rather see a peaceful world and productive economies. There is still that undertone in communist nations that The West is the enemy. That is the problem here. The West has engaged in initiatives for decades to knock down walls and open markets, but, the communists are no longer comfortable with the friendships. They have reasons. They aren't completely incorrect. 

Both China and Russia have received very obvious signs of distance over the past decade. China at least embraces change to move into a First World status while improving the lives of it's citizens, but, Russia is still soured by the collapse of the Soviet Union. This entire aggression into the Crimea makes plainly obvious the soured attitude of the nation.

There is also the issue of Iraq and the appearance of Russia's inability to stop the invasion. I am sure Moscow justifies it's movement into Crimea with the Iraq invasion. If the USA can do it the entire global community can do it, too. Then there is the nukes and the Bush administration was pushing for a limited nuclear strike. Cheney was foaming at the mouth the entire time he was Vice President. 

This is a turning point for The West and Russia. It is going to define the future and it is an important movement to national security of the region. There can't be any questions anymore that nations are secure in their own borders. Russia obviously hasn't made the connection between sovereign authority and economic growth. There is a lot going on within the decisions being made.