Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The real quest for 2016 is to put all Americans back into homes and reset the American Dream.

Has the House Speaker decided to lead instead of follow?

Speaker Boehner since taking the leadership of the US House has never before lead his members. I think most of the time he consented to stepping into the background of the US House by choice or better said, by intimidation of losing his Speakership.

It never made sense to me and I could not understand why a US House member so guaranteed to keep his seat in Ohio's representatives would consent to such a wild west show day after day. Or for at least the days the US House was in session. He is a solid member of the US House and will more than likely be for a long time. His security in his seat is similar to Minority Leader Pelosi. She has that seat from California for as long as she wants it. She rose above the challenge in 2010, but, she did it with the help of those that believe in her leadership.

This could be interesting and I doubt Speaker Boehner will have to do it himself.

November 25, 2014
By Dow Jones Business News

WASHINGTON--Congressional Republicans (click here) are considering a way to keep most of the government running through next fall, while extending federal funding connected to immigration just until early 2015 to push back against the president's executive action....

There are currently two moderate Republicans that are known to be setting their sites on the White House, Former Governor Romney and Former Governor Jeb Bush. I always thought John Boehner more of a moderate than not and his sharp turn to the extreme right has been curious at least. Cowardly actually, but, since the Republicans won the Senate, it would seem as though reality has set into the leadership. Somewhat.

I think the mainstream Republicans, those other than the Tea Party, learned something from the Tea Party. It is beginning to look as though moderates like Mr. Bush and Mr. Romney are starting their campaigns before the ink is dry on the election results. 

It could happen that the voices of moderates in the vapors begin to move the dialogue of the Republicans out of the extremist corner and into more mild and tepid waters. 

I am not at all dismissing the very real possibility this House and Senate leadership will be hostile to sanity and march lousy legislation time and again to the desk of the President. There is a strong suspicion considering the US House is adding the antics of defunding Homeland Security after three months to protest the President's Executive Order. Such a move would only prove the Republicans don't know or aren't interested in governance. If they don't like what the President did, then pass legislation on immigration reform rather than throwing a tantrum that puts our democracy in harms way. Time will tell.

But, with Jeb Bush stating the best way to the presidency is to lose the primary election and run in the general election, he may have found his own moral conscience bothering him. 

About a week or so ago Jeb Bush started down the path of destruction and I think I entered it on the blog. Evidently, he has thought it through and decided to have an honest relationship with the country. A relationship built on sound values and proven methods of governance. It would be interesting to see that happen. Mr. Romney and Mr. Bush adding moderate voices to the dialogue might actually turn the corner on extremism. I hope so. The Democrats, especially those in the House, are lonesome for sane company and forward movement for the country. To date the US House has been determined to live in the past and campaign on "The Way We Were." That is campaign on the way we were two centuries ago.

The real contest in 2016 seems to be shaping up to find out if Bush can actually beat Clinton. Hillary is a dynamo. She has been serving the country since birth. She has uplifted the unheard all her life and brought attention to their plight while sharing her insight to the country to share in the improvement of people throughout the USA.

As First Lady and later Secretary of State she impacted the troubles of communities on foreign soil. She was one of the last leaders to actually have time with the Late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto while still governing in Pakistan. It was a time when Pakistan was stronger than it has been with the destructive Taliban. It might be those memories that helps a troubled area of the world to redefine itself away from violence.

Well, before I actually start to misty about the way the USA should be and the way it actually is with compromises such as "The Sequester," let me just close this entry with the idea, the Republicans have a long way to go to prove they are interested in governance and not simply politics. They have robbed about four years so far from President Obama in playing with the country's fate and that is not a minor accomplishment that earns disdain. So. The future looks as though there is hope brewing, but, I am not counting on it.

The police seem to be big fish in a small pond in Ferguson.

Public sports venues have been places where opinion is sometimes leveraged. This is one of those times.

What I find astounding about this movement is the ability of so many African American men identifying with police harassment.

President Obama and Attorney General Holder both spoke of instances whereby they were JUDGED by perfect strangers while they were innocent to any wrong doing. 

The movement across the entire country isn't about anti-police, it is about wrongful death of African American young men. I haven't seen a movement like this since the sixties whereby demonstrators could identify strongly with the understanding of why the movement was started and continues.

I can't dismiss this death either. It occurred in Ferguson 

November 26, 2014
By Ben Mathis-Lilly

A 20-year-old man (click here) named DeAndre Joshua was found dead in Ferguson on Tuesdaynear the location where Michael Brown was killed. From USA Today:

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, a resident of an apartment complex spotted Joshua's body inside a parked car, a white Pontiac Grand Prix, near Canfield Green Apartments, the same complex where Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson shot Brown on Aug. 9. Blood-soaked shattered glass lay in a pile on the ground beside the car.

Joshua was shot in the head, CNN reports, and gasoline had been used to light his body on fire. Joshua was reportedly a friend of Dorian Johnson, the Ferguson resident who was with Michael Brown when Brown died....

Do the police in Ferguson know they are not operating in a vacuum? The world is fixed on that town and the people of that town following the police killing of Michael Brown, Jr.

There is another African American man in Ferguson that has described what amounts to death threats from police for being involved in organizing the protests. (click here)  He stated he thought it was the KKK at first, but, was surprised when it was the police department. The police put their guns to the head of the occupants of the car. The police were following T Dubb O for weeks since the demonstrations started.

It was one thing to have a police officer shoot a young black man, it is quite something else to have additional heinous murders and intimidation of young people in the community at the barrel of a gun. And to hear T Dubb O state this type of harassment happens all the time.

Cops can be white supremacists, too. If the community is harassed by these police there is an obvious problem in trusting the police at any time of day or in any activity.

While I am speculating I have to say, there is something profoundly wrong here. Where is the corruption or what is the culture within the police department that allows this and more than allowing this harassment it even seems to encourage it. Is there a drug problem within the police department? Is all the evidence intact in the evidence room? This is a small town. The police are big fish in a small pond. What gives already? Why are the police in Ferguson so invested in their positions to carry out this level of intimidation? None of this sounds NORMAL. I hope the FBI is assisting in the death of DeAndre Joshua. His death was heinous. No one reported the fire? Why?

In Australia, a navy officer suffering from PTSD becomes a whistleblower.

Australia's asylum seeker governance has revealed heinous failures.

December 2, 2014

Sailors from the Royal Australian Navy (click here for video) have described the torment and psychological distress of having to fish asylum seeker bodies out of the ocean as part of the country's border protection operations during the Labor government.
On the ABC's 7.30 program, several members of the navy have spoken of arriving at ghastly scenes of bodies in the water and the lack of support they received from the navy following the rescue missions as asylum-seeker boats made their way to Australian shores.
One serving navy officer, "Michael", told the ABC that on one instance his boat was delayed for 15 hours and they had reports that a boat had sunk 13 hours ago.
"All we found was probably a line about 70 miles long of bodies," he said....

Restoring open pit mining lands is LAW in the USA. It also doesn't work.

The US law states the top soil has to be stored to replace it after FILL is introduced into the pit. The handling of that soil by the mining companies destroys the integrity of the soil and is unusable in many instances.

When coal and pit mining companies measure SUCCESS in restoration they report it as ACRES of land. But, the reality is the real damage is best measured in square miles.

This is from Yale:

...The companies (click here) have filled in giant mine pits, replanted trees, engineered marshes, and brought in bison to graze on boreal shrublands that have been manufactured from excavated earth and wetland vegetation. Today, however, less than one square mile of the 296 square miles of land that has been disturbed by tar sands development has been certified as being reclaimed by the province of Alberta. Standing in the way of certification are poorly defined government guidelines on wetland reclamation and the absence of clear company plans ...

The US law relies on the coal companies to define the restoration methodology with a priority on the mining and not the restoration. There is also vast amounts of damage done 'along the way.' In other words the USA gets out of the way of mining the land and only sees the end product of restoration. Along the way the coal and pit mining companies pollute waters that will take generations to return to their original state. In the case of oil, the lands are permanently compromised. The land in Alberta are beyond restoration efforts.

The insult to the environment doesn't end with water, the tailings and coal ash ponds are a continued danger to COMMUNITIES in the USA during and after the mining is being conducted.

When Presidents complain about Cuba and it's health care system they state there is ONE state of the art facility to entertain foreign media while the people actually have far different outcomes. That is the same concept invoked by the pit mining companies. They have one particular area that has been restored to show the press without looking at the entire picture from the first excavator bucket full of soil to the complete restoration of the area. 

The companies propaganda on this issue is well known and the degraded top soils in storage to the purpose of restoration is well documented in peer reviewed journals. The law? Is a joke.

If the law was actually being enforced there would be a far greater demand for Conservation Biologists than there is today. Basically, the Conservation Community has accepted the failure of the law because any complaint has fallen on deaf ears. Instead of hoping the government would require a reassessment of the law and it's lack of success, the scientists have recorded their findings in professional journals. If anyone actually looked for the information in professional journals about the failure of the conservation laws in regard to pit mining they would find volumes and volumes of information, but, no one focuses on that. The focus instead is on Wall Street, pit mining company complaints about regulation impact PROFITS to stockholders. No surprise there, right?

Forbid profits should be impacted by actual enforcement of the law so the people are safe and have returned wildlands to their recreational income of small businesses.

...Land Restoration (click here)
Once mining is complete, the mined lands are restored to create rangeland, prime farmland, wildlife refuges, wetlands, or recreation areas. Land restoration requires the collective efforts of engineers, biologists, hydrologists, range scientists, and other environmental experts to return the land to productive use. 

How Does Land Restoration Work?
Land restoration—what the industry calls 
land reclamation—is the process of restoring or improving (not restoring at all) land after surface mining. U.S. mining companies have reclaimed more than 2.6 million acres of mined land over the last 35 years and have contributed nearly $10 billion for the reclamation of areas mined decades ago before reclamation was a common practice and legal requirement....

How focused are the Republicans on politics over function of the USA?

They are protesting OPEC in their decision to allow market pressures to work in regard to oil. Get this, not only do the Republicans support an egregious pipeline through the middle of the most productive agricultural land in the world, they are arguing Americans should be paying far more for oil products in order to fund that same pipeline. It is sick. Congressional Republicans are bizarre and absurd to support their cronies. Amazing. And don't forget the USA Subsidies for oil companies still continue. I fully expect the Republican Congress to legislate bailouts for TransCanada, a Canadian company, but, they will deny West Africans the funding for an Ebola vaccine.

This chart shows the number of bills passed by Congresses since 1947. V-J Day, Victory over Japan was September 2, 1945. The bills passed by the Congress in 1947 weren't about supporting a war effort either.

This is what is called incompetent. It is a definitive proof of the willful unwillingness to govern. 

The Congress of 2009 - 2010 passed twice the legislation of 2010 - 2011. It not only passed twice the legislation, but, number of the bills were historic effecting the reversal of the Great Recession and a broken health care system. 

In 2009 the White House inherited two wars from the previous administration. The 2009-2010 Congress had to contend with funding two active wars in the Middle East while the Great Recession robbed the SSI Fund of billions US dollars from the fund. And they also were able to pass historical legislation that would improve the health outcomes of millions of Americans. They were amazing. Their bills were extensive and comprehensive and moved the country forward. It also was with the first woman Speaker in the US House. It was incredible to watch the diligent work that Congress achieved. 

Congress again is abandoning Americans yet again in the funding for Ebola vaccine.

This is exactly the hostage taking the American people will witness for the next two years. Congress is again attempting intimidation of President Obama for their extremist agenda. 

The USA is not bankrupt and while there are no current patients suffering from Ebola in the USA the AGREED strategy to fight the disease in it's place of origin protects Americans. 

The vaccine is real and promising and it's further perfection needs to be funded.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks next to Ebola response coordinator Ron Klain (L) as he hosts a meeting with his Ebola response team in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, November 18, 2014.

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama (click here) on Tuesday will press Congress to approve $6.18 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and prepare U.S. hospitals to handle future cases.

Most of the request is aimed at the immediate response to the disease at home and abroad. But the package also includes $1.5 billion in contingency funds - money that could become a target if lawmakers decide to trim the bill.
"That is the part of the package that is most at risk," said Sam Worthington, president of InterAction, an alliance of U.S. non-governmental aid groups.
While lawmakers recognize that the United States had to take action to arrest the deadly disease, some are wary of giving the administration leeway in investing money in public health systems in West Africa....
S. 1569: Default Prevention Act of 2013 is on the agenda today in the US Senate. There should be an amendment to it which provides the funding needed to complete the work on Ebola.
November 29, 2014
By Luther Turmelle
Protein Sciences (click here) is making a name for itself in a pharmaceutical industry that is filled with high profile, international competitors.
Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer are names that are probably more recognizable to the average consumer. But Meriden-based Protein Sciences, which has been in business for 31 years, has been capturing the public’s attention lately for one of its vaccines that is already available and another that is in development.
The one that is in development, which prevents the spread of the Ebola virus, got the most attention in October when Americans’ fear of catching the disease, which has killed thousands in Africa, was at its height....

...Protein Sciences expects to submit its Ebola vaccine to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by the end of the year. Once that happens, NIH researchers will conduct animal testing of the vaccine on monkeys, which will the be exposed to the Ebola virus.
Even as it is moving to develop a way to prevent Ebola, Protein Sciences is looking to expand awareness of its influenza vaccine, Flublok. The vaccine made its debut in November of last year and sold only 30,000 doses, which Manon Cox, Protein Sciences’ president and chief executive officer, said is less than one percent of the total market.
The company is hoping to expand upon that this flu season, boosted by last month’s decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow Flublok to be administered to individuals 50 years of age and older. The vaccine has a distinct advantage over its competition in the marketplace, made by companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi and AstraZeneca: Protein Sciences’ product is not made with chicken eggs....

Dr. Fauci is leading the efforts to achieve the vaccine. He is more than qualified to ask for the funding. His own professional profile includes acting as an immunologist who has made substantial contributions to HIV/AIDS research and other immunodeficiencies. This is not a shoot from the hip effort. These are highly qualified research scientists that now need to move the vaccine to clinical trials as required by law in order to manufacture the vaccine for use in humans. 

October 20, 2014
By Jon Cohen

...Geisbert told Science Insider (click here) he “completely” agrees with Fauci’s assessment. “His comment is spot on,” Geisbert says. “The smaller companies that were working on Ebola vaccines and treatments did not have the financial resources” to make the clinical grade product needed to stage human studies. NIH funding typically supports research, not product development....

The delay in legislative support to the USA's best interests will be common during the next two years. The US House sincerely has no interest in understanding the needs of the country, even emergent needs such as the Ebola vaccine. If this trend in legislation continues it is valid to say the Republican Congress is profoundly incompetent. 

President Obama needs to realize he is getting a rather incompetent bunch in January. His strategy to accomplish the country's goals should be made public before the State of the Union which is the best place to move Congress to act.

The US House doesn't have leadership. It has a group of legislators with the enforcement of the Hastert Rule cripples the legislative process. There is no appreciation for emergent needs of the country. The US House slices and dices legislation to JUST UNDERSTAND the issues and micromanage the monies appropriated. This Congress coming in will have more of the same and not less. Basically, the legislative process in the USA is compromised.

Ebola Diagnostics Research (click here)

NIAID is also supporting the development of improved diagnostics for Ebolavirus infection. For example, NIAID is funding a Lassa fever recombinant antigen diagnostic. A similar diagnostic is being designed to detect Ebolavirus infection. NIAID also is supporting development of multiplex diagnostics, microfluidics-based diagnostics and optofluidic-based diagnostics for Ebola.
US Congress finds it convenient to blame President Obama for their own failings. The lawsuit the Speaker brought could easily be solved with legislation that provides workable solutions to small business owners, but, that hasn't happened because it is politically advantageous to hold President Obama hostage.

The entire circumstances with Congress is hideous. They play politics when in fact the answer to the problems they complain about is within the power of the legislature to solve. It's a stalemate that is more characteristic of a bloodless coup.
Generally, pigs do not like to be held or picked up. When a pig feels threatened, it will squeal, loudly. Usually very loudly. Obviously, when you are trying to pick up a baby pig you want to cuddle you are not a threat, but you have to remember that squealing is a natural response to something the piglet doesn't like. As the piglet bonds with you, it will trust that you are not going to hurt him or her, and you will likely be able to teach him or her not to struggle and squeal when handled. While pigs usually outgrow being picked up quite quickly, being able to pick up your piglet will make it easier to move your piglet around, which is especially handy during the house training process....

Calender of Business - December 2, 2014


S. 2578 (ORDER NO. 459)
1.—Ordered, That with respect to the cloture motion filed on the motion to proceed to S. 2578, a bill to ensure that employers cannot interfere in their employees’ birth control and health care decisions, the mandatory quorum required under Rule XXII be
waived. (July 14, 2014.)

S. 2432 (ORDER NO. 409)
2.—Ordered, That with respect to the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 2432, a bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide for the refinancing of certain Federal student loans, and for other purposes, the mandatory quorum required under Rule XXII be waived. (June 9, 2014.)

H.R. 3474 (ORDER NO. 332)
3.—Ordered, That the mandatory quorum required under Rule XXII for the motion to invoke cloture on Amdt. No. 3060, offered by the Senator from Nevada (Mr. Reid), to H.R. 3474, an Act to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow employers to exempt employees with health coverage under TRICARE or the Veterans Administration from being taken into account for purposes of the employer mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, be waived; provided, that the filing deadline for first
degree amendments be 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 15, 2014, and the filing deadlinefor second degree amendments be 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 15, 2014. (May 14, 2014.)...

...S. 1845 (ORDER NO. 265)
6.—Ordered, That with respect to the cloture motions filed on February 4, 2014, the filing deadline for first degree amendments to S. 1845, a bill to provide for the extension of certain unemployment benefits, and for other purposes, be 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, February 6, 2014, and the filing deadline for second degree amendments to Amdt. No. 2714 and S. 1845 be 10:45 a.m. on Thursday, February 6, 2014; provided, that with respect to those cloture motions, the mandatory quorums required under Rule XXII be waived,
and that Wednesday, February 5, 2014, count as an intervening day for the purposes of Rule XXII.

Ordered further, That with respect to the cloture motion filed on January 9, 2014, the filing deadline for first degree amendments to S. 1845 be 3:00 p.m. on Monday, January 13, 2014, and the filing deadline for second degree amendments to S. 1845 be 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 14, 2014; provided, that with respect to that cloture motion, the mandatory quorum required under Rule XXII be waived. (Jan. 9, 13, Feb. 4, 2014.)

S. 1197 (ORDER NO. 91)
7.—Ordered, That with respect to the cloture motion on S. 1197, an original bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2014 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes, the mandatory quorum required under Rule XXII be waived....

...S. 1569 (ORDER NO. 211)
9.—Ordered, That with respect to the cloture motion filed on the motion to proceed to S. 1569, a bill to ensure the complete and timely payment of the obligations of the United States Government until December 31, 2014, the mandatory quorum required under Rule XXII be waived. (Oct. 10, 2013.) 

S. 1569: Default Prevention Act of 2013 (click here)
This bill is provisionally dead due to a failed vote for cloture on October 12, 2013. Cloture is required to move past a Senate filibuster or the threat of a filibuster and takes a 3/5ths vote. In practice, most bills must pass cloture to move forward in the Senate.

Default Prevention Act of 2013 - Amends the No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-3) to suspend the public debt limit through December 31, 2014.
Revises the special rule relating to obligations issued during the suspension period to provide for an increase in the debt limit, effective January 1, 2015, to the extent that:
(1) the face amount of obligations issued and the face amount of obligations whose principal and interest are guaranteed by the federal government (except guaranteed obligations held by the Secretary of the Treasury) outstanding on January 1, 2015, exceeds
(2) the face amount of such obligations outstanding on the date of enactment of this Act.
Prohibits an obligation from being taken into account unless its issuance was necessary to fund a commitment incurred by the federal government that required payment before January 1, 2015.

The Executive Office of the President

The Administration strongly supports passage of S. 1569, the Default Prevention Act of 2013. The legislation allows the United States Government to pay its bills through the end of calendar year 2014. Raising the debt limit allows the Treasury to pay for obligations that the Congress has already authorized—the legislation does not authorize any new spending. Once the Congress agrees to pay the Government’s bills and end this Government shutdown, the President
looks forward to working with the Congress to create jobs and build on the progress the Nation has made to cut the deficit in half since 2009. But the Nation's economy cannot afford the threat of default and shutdown month after month just so a few Members of Congress can try to force passage of an extreme, failed legislative agenda. Funding the Government and paying its bills is the Congress's job. Without an increase in the debt limit, the United States will default on its bills and not have the resources necessary to honor all of its financial commitments, triggering an economic shutdown which could cause irrevocable damage to the Nation’s economy and financial markets. Swift passage of this bill would put an end to the reckless and irresponsible
threat to the Nation's economy and the credit rating of the United States posed by the failure of the Congress to act. The President looks forward to signing this bill and providing certainty that the United States will pay all of its bills.