Thursday, November 06, 2014

Lincoln didn't win the Civil War by saying "Pretty please."

President Obama is in the strongest position he has ever been in. He is there because the Democrats were able to hold and take seats from Republicans. The Democrats need President Obama. The next two years can be the strongest come back of the Middle Class and elevation of the Poor than this country has ever seen in recent years. 

Democrats need to re-establish their courage, their roots and their determination to provide the American Dream to the American people again. The Democrats have a President that wants it more than they do. Let's get this done.

Dumping. I can't believe there are companies in the USA that don't know dumping is not only illegal but effects human health. Amazing.

November 14, 2014

Stone Energy has also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $177,500. (click here)

The alleged violations of the Clean Water Act occurred during construction of two Marcellus Shale well pads and access roads. Without first obtaining the required permit, the company filled in approximately 680 feet of tributaries to Fishing Creek at the Weekley Well Pad, and 420 feet of Duerrs Run as well as an associated tributary at the Maury Well Pad. Both Duerrs Run and Fishing Creek are part of the Ohio River watershed.

Stone’s failure to apply for and receive a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before dredged or fill material, such as dirt or stone, was discharged into the waterways resulted in the violation. This permit requirement protects important aquatic resources, and preserves their environmental, recreational, and economic functions, including flood control, water filtration, and wildlife habitat....

The petroleum industry is the Problem Child in the USA. This is only one small incident with the petroleum industry.

How many folks noticed how the petroleum industry is attempting to purchase the American government?

Yeah, me too. Where did a lot of money find it's way into buying power yesterday? There were consistent changes in government in key states to the Keystone XL pipeline.


Ricketts, (click here) a Republican and the scion of a wealthy Nebraska family, lost his 2006 bid to oust then-senator Ben Nelson, D-Neb., by a wide margin. Eight years later, the business executive has been elected the Cornhusker State's governor after years of work to boost his political credentials and influence.

Sasse, 42, (click here) served in George W. Bush's administration in different roles with the Justice and Homeland Security departments, before doing a stint as an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. For a short time, Sasse was also chief of staff to Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.

Americans have to start saying "Our country is not for sale."

Mike Rounds is the former Governor to South Dakota. He is their new Senator elected this year.

When Rounds takes office, (click here) it will be the first time in 28 years both South Dakota U.S. Senate seats are held by Republicans

Only one Democrat — North Dakota (click here) Sen. Heidi Heitkamp — remains in the Dakotas' congressional delegation. What that means from a policy perspective will take shape in the coming months. But Rounds and the senior Republican senators, John Thune of South Dakota and John Hoeven of North Dakota, plan to take up a slew of issues they said had stalled under a Democratically controlled Senate.
"Tonight was a marvelous stepping stone. ... Let's build upon it," Rounds said after clinching victory on Tuesday night.
Thune and Hoeven said Rounds' arrival in Washington would dovetail with renewed efforts on energy policy, limiting government overreach and applying fresh pressure to President Barack Obama....
Republicans want to put pressure on government overreach but not the petroleum industry overreach that bought their seats for them. It might the new Kuwaiti money that TransCanada received fueling some of this.

The Keystone XL pipeline isn't ONLY about refusing to let dirty tar sands oil into the USA and then across precious lands with even more important aquifers, it is about the future of Americans being altered by extreme fracking and oil techniques.

The Keystone XL pipeline is a very bad idea and now we know who wants it so bad they'll pay incredible amounts of money to PURCHASE POWER.

Stopping the KXL was about important environmental issues, but, today it now means standing up for the sovereignty of our country and the vulnerability of our democracy by companies that don't care about the land, the people or the natural resources such as clean water to our agriculture and future generations. The worst idea the petroleum industry ever had was to purchase power in the USA.

California is combatting historic drought and Boehner is talking about a pipeline. Once a Republican is purchased he seeks to fulfill the wishes of his funders. Amazing.

That is a boat dock in California. No, that is not brown water, that is land.

An empty boat dock sits on the dry lakebed of Folsom Lake on March 20, 2014 in El Dorado Hills, California.

Los Angees (AP) - California voter (click here) on Tuesday approved spending $7.5 billion to improve the state's outdated and undersized water storage and delivery system amid a historic drought.

Proposition 1 had about two-thirds support among nearly 2.6 million votes counted, with millions more ballots left to tally. It calls for building two new reservoirs, investing in conservation measures, water recycling and groundwater cleanup.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who spent more time and money campaigning for the bond measure than his own re-election, said it will help California make investments in water that will pay dividends during future dry periods.

"I just spent the last several months saying, 'save water, save money,'" he said. "These are pillars because water is life. It is the basis of our wellbeing and also our economy."

In a rare show of bipartisanship, Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature gave nearly unanimous support for the measure, which directs the state to issue $7.1 billion in new borrowing and redirect $425 million from past ballot propositions....

A Union officer receives the Medal of Honor.

1st Lt. Alonzo Cushing (center, back row) with other officers at Antietam, Maryland, in 1862. He died at Gettysburg in July 1863.(Public Domain)

...“This medal (click here) is a reminder that no matter how long it takes, it is never too late to do the right thing,” Obama said.
Cushing commanded an Army artillery battery that was defending Cemetery Ridge in a grueling fight that would become a turning point in the Civil War. He continued to push his men forward despite being wounded....
He died during Picket's Charge.

Pickett's Charge
July 3, 1863
Gen. Robert E. Lee (click here) concentrated his full strength against Maj. Gen. George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac at the crossroads county seat of Gettysburg at what would come to be known as the Battle of Gettysburg.... 

The euphemistic well the Republicans have referred to is already poisoned and Boehner just did it.

November 6, 2014

(Reuters) - Legislation (click here) allowing the construction of the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, repealing Obamacare and reducing the nation's debt are at the top of Republicans' 2015 agenda, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday.

In his first news conference since Tuesday's congressional elections that saw broad Republican victories, Boehner also said that if President Barack Obama unilaterally loosens some immigration regulations, he will "poison the well and there will be no chance of immigration reform moving" in the next two years....

The Republicans are back to their old tactics of obstruction. The country will once again face brinkmanship on the debt ceiling and budgets. Nothing has changed.

I suppose Boehner actually believes coercion will work. In case he doesn't recognize it, those statements are THREATS. That is a ethnics violation. 

Harry! Harry Reid!

The USA is finding more people requiring Ebola monitoring with the benefit of a Surgeon General. That is an emergent matter.

The Climate Crisis

When the Earth's atmosphere receives attention I would like the Dems and President Obama to consider the idea of 'Carbon Credits" with some degree of skepticism. It is a Wall Street solution for a planet. 

Australia is not finding success. Neither is New Zealand. True to form Wall Street doesn't alter it's activities or polluting, they simply purchase carbon credits and pass it on to the consumer. 

Now, a Carbon Credit is possible as an option for those so morally inclined. If a passenger wants to cover their travel by jet with morality in respect of Earth, that should always be an option. The same being true NGOs that seek to bring an impact to Earth's troposphere. That type of 'appreciation' of the problem should always be an option, but, to bring it as a 'carbon tax' to large polluters won't change anything. It will serve to create more burden on the consumer.

Carbon Credits have their place, but, frank regulation is the only method that will bring about compliance.

I suppose Wall Street and polluting industries can use Carbon Credits in lieu of regulation, but, they have to prove it is cutting pollution while preventing any cost being transformed into the consumer's burden. 

Carbon credits have to prove to be effective in balancing the pollution with absorption of CO2. Methane is not used by plants in respiration. Methane pollution has to be regulated. So, when a polluting company plans to use carbon credits instead of changes to meet regulation, it has to provide documentation that their pollution is then absorbed immediately or somewhere on Earth.

Utilities are the problem. Electricity is necessary by modern society in large amounts. If they use carbon credits in lieu of regulation they cannot pass the cost to the consumer. Then and only then will greenhouse gas pollution be the focus and reduced. 

Carbon capture? Sure. But where is the carbon disposed off after it is captured. There has to be documentation of carbon capture to PROVE it is not entering Earth's troposphere. Turning CO2 into dry ice is fine, but, what ultimately happens to the dry ice? Is it CONTAINED or is it returning ultimately to Earth's atmospheres? 

No cheating.

We have less than ten years to get this right. 
Will  the Affordable Care Act be repealed? No, not a chance. Will there be changes made? You betcha. The Democrats of the 2009 Congressional session knew going into the law there would be tweaks needed when it finally was enacted in 2014. That was a given. The legislation is so profound there was no way of running statistics about what may or may not be a problem. There was nothing to compare it to. It was a one of a kind initiative. 

Although Massachusetts gave the Dems and President insight, there was still a far larger and more diverse demographic when the law impacted the USA. So, there are some areas that have to be reviewed and given a tune up, but, the law itself is here to stay.

There was something that really bothered me about Barrasso's arrogance today.

Barrasso Statement on Republican Senate Majority


November 4, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) released the following statement on the American people’s decision to elect a Republican Senate Majority:

“Americans supported Republicans today because they want Washington to end the gridlock and start solving problems.  After years of delay, obstruction and partisan political stunts, the Senate is about to finally function again. This election has been good for our country and good for the American people.  Americans expect us to govern – and that’s what we are going to do.

“In the new year, Senate Republicans will take immediate action on jobs, energy, healthcare, trade and national security.  We will pass important bills and send them to President Obama to make consequential decisions. The President has two years left in office to finally deliver the change people so desperately want in our country. A Republican Congress will ensure that Washington starts leading on issues impacting families, workers and small businesses across America.” 

Consequential decisions. Why would President Obama be facing consequence when it seems to me the Congress is the one facing consequences if they don't get along with President Obama. He has lived with an obstructionist Congress for six years, why change now?

If Senator Barrasso is thinking over riding a Presidential veto is easy, he is wrong. The Congress has to get along with the Democrats and the President.

Presidential veto powers stand unless there is a two third majority of the governing bodies to override it.

...The regular veto is a qualified negative veto. (click here) The President returns the unsigned legislation to the originating house of Congress within a 10 day period usually with a memorandum of disapproval or a “veto message.” Congress can override the President’s decision if it musters the necessary two–thirds vote of each house. President George Washington issued the first regular veto on April 5, 1792. The first successful congressional override occurred on March 3, 1845, when Congress overrode President John Tyler’s veto of S. 66....

This majority House and Senate needs to tame their tempers and pass legislation that is of the President's willingness to sign. They need to get to work and prove they are worthy of their majorities. If all the Congress does is pass legislation the President won't sign then the American people will realize once and for all, the Republicans are incapable of governance.

The two thirds members the Republicans need to impeach is also the same two thirds to override a Presidential veto. The numbers aren't there.

So, can Republicans govern or not? It should be very interesting.

...Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a law....

Ted Cruz is nobody and McConnell knows it.

The total number of vetos in the history of the USA is 1496 or which 109 were overridden. To date, President Obama actively vetoed two legislative measures.

President Barack H. Obama withheld his signature from a measure during an intersession recess period (H.J. Res 64, 111th Congress, 1st sess.) and from a measure during an intrasession recess period (H.R. 3808, 111th Congress, 2nd sess.) but returned both measures to the House, which proceeded to reconsider them. “Pocket-Veto Power – (Extensions of Remarks – May 26, 2010),” Congressional Record, 111th Cong., 1st sess., (May 26, 2010): E941. The measures are not included as pocket vetoes in this table.

The USA House has 435 members and a two thirds override would require 291 House members. The USA Senate has 100 members and would require 67 to override. The Democrats have at the very least 42 seats and 2 independents. The House has 189 members that are Democrats. There is no way the legislature is going to override any veto.

Poverty, minimum wage, equal pay, student debt, health care changes, immigration reform, war, SSI and Medicare/Medicaid, income inequality, gun legislation, the environment and budgets are all still on the table. But, any bill being passed should have to require enough clout to the President to be signed. There is nothing that cannot be accomplished as the President has the upper hand with any legislation out of Congress for the next two years.

The President didn't change his mind about executing an Executive Order to facilitate immigration reform because of the election. He saw an opportunity to pass a bill rather than Executive Order under this new paradigm of power he now has before him. If the Congress is unable to or unwilling to pass immigration reform during this session of Congress why wait on an Executive Order?  

Next years Congress will require cooperation to pass any bill. Bills that are veto proof will no doubt take plenty of debate and time to pass. President Obama could actually get all his agenda passed next session. It will be interesting to hear a far more humble Senate and House in their proceedings next Congress.
November 5, 2014
By Chelsea Rice

5:00 p.m. So how is NYC handling Ebola? (click here) Throughout New York City, health officials announced that 357 individuals are being actively monitored, representing travelers from Ebola afflicted countries as well as hospital staff who cared for the latest Ebola patient, Dr. Craig Spencer, at Bellevue Hospital.

Dr. Spencer is still undergoing treatment at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, and according to the NYC Department of Health, Spencer continues to show improvement and is in stable condition.

Someone he came into contact while he was contagious has also been upgraded from being quarantined to to direct active monitoring, which means a health official will visit the patient and check his or her symptoms once a day. His or her travel is no longer restricted, according to a statement from NYC health officials.
3:30 p.m. It’s time to throw more money at it. In a letter to CongressThursday afternoon, President Obama asked representatives to approve $6.18 billion emergency appropriations request for the 2015 fiscal year to develop a comprehensive strategy to contain and end the Ebola outbreak. This request mirrors the appeal to Congress in 2009 to combat the H1N1 flu outbreak....

Fiscal collapse of these countries in West Africa could increase the spread of the virus. Hold US Repubicans feet to the fire. They made Ebola a center piece of their 2014 elections, they need to make it their center piece now.

Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak (EVD) is overstressing the fiscal capacity of Governments in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (click here)

...The new waves of EVD are completely different in scope and in depth, partly because of cultural and institutional interplay, and partly because these countries are socially and economically integrated with their neighbours. There are more cases and associated fatalities in eight months than the combined 20 episodes of EVD outbreak since 1976. What looked like a manageable phenomenon on 25 March (86 cases and 60 deaths and localized in Guinea) has 
become an issue of monumental proportion (9,062 cases and 4,542 deaths – now spreading beyond borders) as of 12 October, with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as the epicentres....

The number of cases could be stabilizing, the resourced is vital to end this virus. The need is now, not months and years from now.

November 6, 2014
The head of the UN mission (click here for video) charged with fighting Ebola has told the BBC he does not yet have the resources necessary to defeat the deadly disease.
Tony Banbury said more help was urgently needed, despite significant contributions from Britain, China, Cuba and the US.
He was speaking after visiting the three nations worst hit by the virus - Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Nick Quraishi reports.

Republican white men have a comfort zone where abortion and gay rights are a threat enough to bring them to polls. Why?

November 4, 2014
By James Queally

Federal judge has granted an injunction (click here) against Kansas' same-sex marriage ban, and couples will be able to apply for marriage licenses there by Nov. 11, according a ruling filed in federal court on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree granted the injunction in Topeka on Tuesday afternoon, finding the Kansas law that bars same-sex couples from marrying to be unconstitutional. 

The order, which bars Kansas authorities from enforcing the state law, was stayed until Nov. 11 to allow the Kansas Department of Health to appeal.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit in October on behalf of a pair of same-sex couples whose applications for marriage licenses were rejected....

Are referendums a better avenue for changing the face of the USA? Somewhere along the way white men have decided abortion and gay rights are threatening enough to vote for candidates that victimize these groups of people. What the heck is that?

November 4, 2014
By Michael Muskal

The Oklahoma Supreme Court (click here) on Tuesday temporarily put on hold a state law restricting abortions while the issue is argued in a lower court.
The unanimous action by the high court means that women in Oklahoma can continue to use the prescription drugs mifepristone and misoprostol, which induce abortion in the early weeks of pregnancy.

Oklahoma had sought to prohibit such abortions in a law known as House Bill 2684....

Gay rights and abortion are going to destroy families? It seems to me 60% of American families find greater comfort without marriage of any kind. 60% of American families are single women. It appears that the lack of abortion rights and the lack of gay rights and the polarization of white men have already destroyed the traditional American family.

2014 was a Caucasian election. The conclusion leaving President Obama in the White House was an accurate election decision.

The Republican ground game was improved, but, not with women and minorities. That is not surprising, the GOP does not speak to the electorate in their needs and/or political focus. Basically, the GOP widened it's numbers in their traditional base. The GOP remains out of touch with the majority of Americans. The Democrats were defeated because of third party candidates and poor turnout of their base voters. For Democrats, it was a standard turnout in off year elections.

The Democrats need to learn to develop a message for white men. 

November 5, 2014
By Maeve Reston

...The more troubling picture for Republicans (click here) as they look ahead to the presidential race in 2016 is this: Although they won in what some are calling a red tsunami, the long-standing rules about midterm elections held true. They won largely because the voters who turn out tend to be more white and more conservative than those who turn out in presidential years.

A Wednesday analysis of exit poll data by the Pew Research Center found that men and older Americans were central to the GOP gains, and that there was little evidence that the party made progress closing its deficits among women or young voters.
Exit polls showed that men cast their ballots for Republicans by a 16-percentage-point margin and women favored Democrats by a 4-percentage-point margin, similar to margins in the 2010 midterm election. Republicans also held a 16-percentage-point lead over their Democratic opponents among voters who were 65 and older, who made up 22% of the 2014 electorate compared with just 16% in 2012....

The race on Tuesday proves Democrats are having larger turnouts than 2010, but, still remain stranded in off year elections. The Democrats are still the party of choice for their usual supporters, but, they can't seem to solve the problem they have with white men. The Democrats can't just keep their fingers crossed that women and minorities will solve their turnout issue.

...By contrast, voters younger than 30 — who favor Democrats — handed in 13% of the ballots cast, compared with 12% in 2010. In 2012, they made up nearly 19% of the electorate.

Turnout was abysmally low across the board in states such as California and Texas.

The difference in the parties is based in 'specialist' messages and focus. The sad reality of Texas is the reality of 'voter specialty' messaging. They raise the fear level, ie: Perry's National Guard at the border, and drive white men to the polls albeit in small numbers. Texas is an extremist incubator. In studying Texas politics most voters are spectators because they don't relate and are predisposed to be disinterested.

Texas' social environment results in the highest teenage pregnancy rate while it closes abortion clinics. Texas is a very hostile environment for many potential voters. The politics is so one sided those most needed to vote to turn Texas blue hasn't seen hope for change for at least two decades. Those within the political circle of Texas has limited in demographics. 

The Democratic Party lead by Wendy Davis has to continue empowerment of their base and a better ground game. The Democrats have to develop the message of hope. If the turnout to elections don't change in Texas those most oppressed will remain oppressed and disenfranchised. Town hall meetings in open air forums inviting all citizens to address their needs should become a vehicle of success in Texas. People don't believe their government cares. 

The Democrats should be frustrated by the large number of disenfranchised populations. Women and their partners/spouses became involved when the abortion issue came to the floor and a champion for their case sincerely wanted them to find empowerment in the Democratic Party. That has to grow. 

There has to be some improvement in the state wide quality of life. Referendum issues can drive interest in voters currently disinterested. Seeking to change numbers of voters in political races to favor the disenfranchised is not working. The legislative process is too lengthy to provide incentives to increase the Democrats electorate. However, referendums to bring those voters to the polls will be more IMMEDIATELY empowering. Referendums are actually the place for issues of social injustice to prove how powerful an electorate can be. People have to see 'the worth' of their efforts in voting. If rewards are not evident an increase in voters won't occur. Basically, the majority of women and minorities in Texas haven't seen favorable change for a long time if ever. 

Texas, historically a low turnout state, stayed true to form Tuesday as Democratic efforts to hasten the state's shift from red to blue came up well short. Even with celebrity Democrat Wendy Davis topping the ticket and close to $40 million in her campaign bank account, fewer than 30% of eligible Texans cast ballots in the marquee race.

I find it a strange set of circumstances in the highly divided demographics of the two parties. Democrats estrange white men to the point where they feel threatened to their status and Republicans estrange women and minorities. Democrats have to bring 'the entire family' of voters to their elections.

One of the greatest strengths for Democrats was identified in the global economic recession beginning in 2007 and peaked in 2008. Men were out of work in large numbers across the country nearly overnight. The fact women were still employed after the economic collapse should be a victory for the Democrats and one most men can relate to. 2008 is a example of the failed economic strategy of Republicans. Men should be identifying with their spouses and partners in relationship to economic strength. 

When an economy can't keep all the electorate working in good paying jobs than the people in power are not their friends. Local economies sustain regardless of a larger economic collapse. Small businesses carried the USA in 2008 and was the place where economic growth first began and grew past their previous numbers before any Wall Street company. The return of economic stability of local small businesses can't be ignored and deterioration of their success cannot occur. Local economies, small businesses and a sustainable base economy is vital to any state and local political candidates. The Democrats have to bring the American Dream to a greater number of Middle Class, Lower Middle Class and Poor regardless of the state, but, especially in Texas. Empower White Men and don't estrange them. 

If the USA is a melting pot the idea Caucasian men are a part of that melting pot hasn't occurred yet. The country is still living in segregation as defined by gender and race. Why?

The majority of households (60%) in the USA are single women with and without children. There is something profoundly wrong in that segregation that even defines the commitment to the traditional family. White men have a problem only they don't see it. In that blind spot Democrats should have a message that succeeds.