Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Liberals are happy? Liberals are never happy. They are always menacing. Too much on their minds all the time. Where one issue is solved there are at least a dozen more they are unhappy about.

Senator Bernie Sanders in Wisconsin. What a great idea. They need him. They really need his point of view to validate their roots. That's nice.

Senator Sanders is not real key about the press. He isn't interested in headlines of even a small paragraph above the fold. He is a door to door legislator when he runs for office. I am happy for him. He deserves to have the folks in Wisconsin fill up a stadium. 

American Labor deserves to have good pay. They deserve to have increased rates of pay when they accommodate their employer for additional time at work. People aren't suppose to want to be at work more than necessary to maintain their good standing with an employer. American people that work for a living want to be at home as well. Their time at home can't be understated as important. Besides being down time to refresh to dive back into work the next day, there are relationships and perhaps children, the pets and hobbies and enjoyment. When Americans enjoy life the economy does better. When parents are home and attending the Spring Recital at the local public primary school they are taking pictures and sharing moments with Grandparents. That is called quality of life. Quality of life is what drives the Middle Class. So, when an American Laborer consents to work longer hours or is required to work extra hours that impacts their quality of life. It is a sacrifice. They should be given a higher pay rate to balance the loss of quality of life. 

When I was a union representative for some professionals overtime was viewed as a kindness to the employer. These folks were paid well and they were excellent at their jobs. They worked hard every minute of every hour. Sometimes they would pass on lunch because of their dedication. They rather pass on lunch then work longer hours. That lunch time was gone, there was no reimbursement for that time. There might be a longer break time in the afternoon if things slowed down. But, they were valuable people for the work they did and when their employer asked them to work longer hours than their contract it was viewed as something the employer should appreciate. They received additional pay according to the contract, but, they were also thanked for their willingness and dedication. It is the way it should be.
Greece will be okay. It is the IMF and there is always room for help along with a responsible plan. Greece is not an example to the world's economies. It's a small country. They had a lot of government support for their people. Government spending floated the Greek economy for a long time. 

And bankers want to make an example of Greece. You mean the same bankers that needed to be bailed out? 

Greece is a victim of their failure. The stories being told are more fable than reality when the banks reflect on their dark past.

Greece needs to stop accepting their victimization. Greece needs to fight back.

June 28, 2015
By Landon Thomas, Jr. and Niki Kitsantonis

ATHENS — Greece will keep its banks closed (click here) on Monday and place restrictions on the withdrawal and transfer of money, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a televised address on Sunday night, as Athens tries to avert a financial collapse.
The government’s decision to close banks temporarily and impose other so-called capital controls — and to keep the stock market closed on Monday — came hours after the European Central Bank said it would not expand an emergency loan program that has been propping up Greek banks in recent weeks while the government was trying to reach a new debt deal with international creditors....

This is really off the cuff and I probably should follow Greece a little more closely, but, isn't Libor set by the European Central Bank from an average of selected other banks? Yes?

Regardless, what Greece needs to do is investigate the impact of Libor on it's economy when it was being riddled with fraud. If there is, and there probably is, any liability to the Greece treasury and/or it's people; Greece needs to sue the banks involved in the fraud. 

Greece is in a very difficult part of the world right now. The last thing it and Europe needs right now is a hopelessly weak link. Cyprus has been involved with Turkey and hopefully enough to stabilize all the political turmoil, but, now is not the time to play "Let's ridicule Greece." It is a valuable asset to the EU and it is important Greece maintain it's sovereign national security with the European Union. Greece needs to realize it's strategic importance and take on the challenge to be a country to deal with. 

Greece has a lot of assets, most are their people, their rich history, the Mediterranean food, traditions and their beautiful ports and tourist beaches. Greece's ridicule has not helped it's promotion of a strong tourist industry. It is no different than any other country post 2008 in realizing how soft it's economy actually is with many debts that makes rebuilding nearly impossible. 

Greece needs to take charge and set everything straight, the IMF and it's insight may help. Keep your oars in the water. 
Governor Chris Christi doesn't take three days to make a valid statement. They all said it was over in New Jersey with Bridgegate. He apologized to a mayor and worked with any authority that had questions, he independently investigated the complaints and he is still standing. Chris Christi is a viable candidate. I have enjoyed his recovery from Bridgegate. I don't necessarily agree with his policies, but, he is the candidate that should be representing the Republican field. He is smart and has success in his history, a family man and a great American. Republicans need to have more like Christi in their party rather than taking turns at the presidency and losing.

The primary reason Chris Christi was elected governor was because New Jersey's economy and tax structure is a mess. He inherited a lot of problems. I have watched him seek to balance the New Jersey budget, but, I object to his ways. He didn't raise taxes and became creative in his journey through the monies in every nook and cranny and some of his ideas per his State of the State was really on the edge of inappropriate. When he was looking for fiscal residuals among the towns and counties to benefit the state budget he reminded me of "W." W didn't care where money was in residual in the federal government he took it and distributed among cronies. Christi didn't feed his cronies with the residuals. He wanted the residuals to pay the state budget. 

Don't start about the pensions. They were in arrears long before Christi got to office. He may have had ambitions to get the pensions up to speed and reduce any possibility of bankruptcy, but, it feel short. His ambitions were good, the ability to carry out that promise never came about. He hasn't trashed pensions and he is not a Rick Snyder. He does have morals and I can respect that. Other than politics he is not self serving.  

I am quite sure the Democrats kept him honest and in check, but, Christi was a good governor. He will probably leave New Jersey in better condition than he found it. The Republicans need men and women with integrity and not slap stick sell outs. I am getting really tired of the status quo Republicans. They cause a lot of problems. 

I heard he is pulling some antics about guns and women. It is a mistake because New Jersey has a great track record in both those issues. New Jersey's history is most admirable when it comes to caring for women and preventing danger to citizens with guns. I haven't looked, but, my guess is the number of deaths of police and state police in New Jersey is less than the rest of the country. I remember the death of a state trooper and I want to say his name was LaMonica. The state was traumatized by his death. Rightfully so. The trials were held in Somerset County with sharpshooters on the roof and the tightest security, including German Shepherds inside every door. When Christi challenges New Jersey gun laws there are plenty of reasons to hold the line on change. 

New Jersey is a really nice place to live. They love green. The state's past economy was heavy industry. That isn't there any more. Today it is Big Pharma. But, the shrinking industries in New Jersey has never been replaced to the state's economy and let's face it 2008 wasn't helpful.

Rand Paul is out of the presidential race.

The only president Rand Paul is going to be is that of the militia 5000.

June 30, 2015
By Adam B. Lerner

Rand Paul (click here) met privately with Cliven Bundy on Monday, the Nevada rancher and anti-government activist told POLITICO.

The encounter came after Bundy attended an event for the Kentucky senator’s presidential campaign at the Eureka Casino in Mesquite, Nevada. When the larger group dispersed, Bundy said, he was escorted by Paul’s aides to a back room where he and the Republican 2016 contender spoke for approximately 45 minutes....

Rand Paul will be a second Ron Paul, always on the stump, but having nothing American to say.

April 15, 2015

In out-of-state supporter (click here) of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has pleaded guilty in a federal court in Pennsylvania to making threats against a Bureau of Land Management enforcement official during Bundy’s 2014 standoff against federal officials over land grazing rights.
Some Bundy supporters, as well as Bundy himself, wonder whether this is the first in a series of legal moves the federal government might take against the recalcitrant rancher, whose so-called citizen militia challenged BLM officials in an armed face-off last April....

There always seems to be this strange American that turns out for the Pauls at elections. They no more love this country than give up their guns. Their idea of democracy is anarchy. Anarchy is anarchy, it isn't democracy. These folks are not great Americans. This is not the movement west, it is 2015 where there is a well established government. They have lives that are caricatures. 

They're strange. These are the folks that breed Timothy McVeigh. They have these ideas they can reclaim the old West. Well, hee haw, get used to the idea of prison. The permission they take with our democracy was clearly illustrated when a couple left the Bundy ranch and killed a police officer. Rand Paul should get serious, but, he'll just ride this tide of decent by Americans seeking a life as a militant. 

It is ridiculous. A US Senator.  

It is in Iran's best interest to bring a strong agreement to negotiations.

I often think memories can be very weak in diplomacy. President Obama's administration has been willing to talk to Iran. Iran should solidify a strong agreement while this administration governs and the US continues interest in peace and non-proliferation.

It was not long ago that a US administration would not even talk to Iran. It is time to get this done to satisfy global powers to the sincere will of Iran to participate as a peaceful government and not one interested in the power of war. 

In this file photo taken Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, speaks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, as they walk in Geneva, Switzerland, ahead of the next round of nuclear discussions. (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP, File) 

June 30, 2015

VIENNA — Pushing (click here) past a Tuesday deadline, world powers and Iran extended negotiations for a comprehensive nuclear agreement by a week as the U.N. nuclear agency prepared to announce Tehran had met a key condition — significantly reducing its stocks of enriched uranium that could be used for atomic weapons.
Iran's failure to comply would have severely undermined the negotiations, which are aimed at curbing the Iranians' nuclear program for a decade in exchange for tens of billions of dollars in relief from international economic sanctions
The State Department announced the extra days of talks only hours before the expiration of the target date for their completion. Thoughts of meeting the deadline had been long-abandoned, but the extension has added significance as it holds in place nuclear restrictions that Iran agreed to some 20 months ago as well as slightly eased conditions for Iranian business with the world.
Those preliminary measures have been prolonged to next Tuesday "to allow more time for negotiations to reach a long-term solution," spokeswoman Marie Harf said.? The statement came after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held a day of meetings in Vienna with the foreign ministers of Iran and Russia, and other key officials....

I am a happy camper. President Rousseff is one of the most powerful women in the struggle of the climate crisis.

She is the one person that stands in the breach to protect the Amazon. Other than a President that understands the climate crisis and values her precious Amazon, she is simply a great woman and President for Brazil. I gave a great news conference and it was good to see her again. 

She stands to be painted by history as the leader that brought the Middle Class to prominence for Brazil. It is a rightful place for her people. Brazilians are hard working and have ambitions that support a strong and motivated Middle Class. I was more than pleased to hear her recognize the income and wealth inequality of the people in her country. She joins a growing list of leaders to recognize the inequality their citizens face.

President Rousseff has been a strong and benevolent leader taking position in the G20. She is good for Brazil and any country they call allies. This relationship with the USA is enhanced by a new recognition of Cuba and the importance of raising a non-violent paradigm for South and Central America. The childrens arrival at the southern border of the USA clearly illustrated how our neighbors dearly need domestic peace, way from gun wheeling drug cartels. Brazil has been successful in taking back neighborhoods and I would expect more of the same with President Rousseff's ambition for her people.

Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, (click here) has seen some important security advances in recent years, taking dozens of communities in Rio de Janeiro from criminal gangs through its innovative UPP security program. However, it faces a serious threat from its two largest domestic criminal gangs, the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando Capital - PCC) and Red Command (Comando Vermelho), who are becoming increasingly involved in the international drug trade, as well as operating extortion and kidnapping rings at home. Militia groups composed mostly of police are another source of violent crime, extorting entire neighborhoods and carrying out extrajudicial killings. The country is becoming increasingly important as a market and transit point for cocaine.

I hope the CIA can be a benevolent partner in Brazil to President Rousseff to assist in understanding the way to deal with violence and corruption. I would encourage her and President Obama to enhance their national security with the upcoming Olympics in 2016.

With 100% of the vote counted, Workers' Party (PT) candidate Dilma Rousseff will become Brazil's first female president, winning the run-off election by a margin of 56.1%-43.9% over PSDB rival José Serra.  She pledges to continue the policies of her predecessor, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, and has set the principal goal of her presidency to be the eradication of poverty in Brazil.

30 June 2015
By Suzanne Goldenberg 

Barack Obama and Dilma Rousseff (click here) put climate change at the top of their agenda at their bilateral meeting on Tuesday, with the US and Brazil agreeing to get up to 20% of their electricity from renewable power by 2030.
Brazil also committed to restore up to 12m hectares of forest – an area about the size of England or Pennsylvania – in another attempt to reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change.

The White House said the initiatives were part of a new US-Brazil climate partnership, loosely modelled on the historic US-China agreement reached during Obama’s visit to Beijing last November, which are intended to build momentum for a global deal to fight climate change in Paris at the end of the year....

Governor Chris Christy is ready for his run.

Christi's strong arm politics worked for the people of New Jersey. When it was important, after the worst storm New Jersey ever saw, Christy stood up to the Republican establishment and demanded help. Not bad.

June 30, 2015
By Jessica Taylor 

...But just months later, (click here) the governor would be badly damaged in the "Bridgegate" scandal — a lane closures scheme affecting commuters onto the highly trafficked George Washington Bridge. It was allegedly orchestrated by some of Christie's top allies to exact political revenge on the mayor of Fort Lee, who had refused to endorse the governor's re-election bid. Two top aides have been indicted, while another has pleaded guilty....

The former Secretary of State may have a sincere opposition candidate from the man across the river.

Chris Christie is an interesting man. He has accomplished every ambition he set his mind on. He is a success story in many ways. But, to run for President every candidate has to have sand kicked in their face to rise as a phoenix above the fray. That came with staff who over stepped their authority in a frenzy of hubris. He has been cleared by the US Attorney, but, will he be cleared by the Republican electorate? I wish him good luck.

In Europe a sane commute to work becomes a demand for a better pay check.

June 30, 2015

CALAIS, France — Striking French ferry workers block Eurotunnel, blocking trains between France, England.

That's it. That is the extensive reporting on a wage dispute. No matter the media outlet the actions of labor to bring brevity to their demands meets with a single sentence of description. Is that not amazing. It is listed with the news because it could cause a slower commute. It isn't about the issues, simply the inconvenience. Is it any wonder why labor had to take to the streets to be recognized?

In absence of real information, I thought this video from Midnight Cowboy would at least illustrate an understanding of protesting workers.

More Hillary-mail will be released today. Will it impact the former Secretary's campaign momentum? Not likely.

Most Americans see the obsession with Hillary for what it is, anti-woman. There is only one question for the span of email releases by the US State Department; "Is there anyone else in the chain of responsibility dogged by the Republican Congress?" Answer. "No."

There is already an extensive investigation to the deaths in Benghazi, Libya on the anniversary of September 11th. This continued political ideological badgering of the former Secretary is viewed by the right wing as the only way to defeat her at the ballot box. Really?

With any luck the junk yard dogs of the Republican Party will find satiation and the issues will take the forefront of the 2016 elections. I would think Senator Sander's rise would finally cement the importance of policy politics. 

June 30, 2015
By Michael A. Memoli

The State Department (click here) expects to release more of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s email correspondence Tuesday, reviving scrutiny of her service in the Obama administration as she wages a campaign to succeed him.
The new batch of emails will be the first from a pool of more than 50,000 pages turned over by the candidate from her private email server. They go beyond the initial 850 pages of emails released in May that were tied to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, the subject of a continuing GOP-led congressional inquiry....

Senator Bernie Sanders performance demands the validation of "I told you so.

Senator Sanders has never been a lightweight in his political message during any campaign. That message has always brought substantial brevity during his run for office.

His decision to run in 2016 for the presidency was based in the absence of a profound belief in the Middle Class. He started his campaign as a very distant ideological chance as far as most people were concerned. He was not considered a strong contender. As Senator Sanders predicted, his low cost campaign would reach heights of loyalty.

June 29, 2015
By H. A. Goodman

Bernie Sanders is down by just 8 points in New Hampshire (click here) and has gained tremendous momentum in Iowa. If the Vermont senator wins both the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, the odds will favor him getting the Democratic nomination. What was once thought of as a long shot is becoming a reality, primarily because Bernie Sanders has energized his base while Hillary Clinton has been forced to defend against email and foreign donor scandals. However, this isn't the first time in recent history that a challenger to Clinton was once thought of as a long shot. 

In 2008, Hillary Clinton finished third in Iowa behind Obama and John Edwards and eventually lost the Democratic nomination to the first African-American elected as president. This eventuality was once described as "the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen" by Bill Clinton, when the former president was asked about Obama's record and chances of winning the presidency. Even Hillary Clinton's "It's 3:00 am" advertisement, described by Harvard Professor of Sociology Orlando Patterson as having a "racist sub-message," couldn't prevent history from taking place and a more progressive electorate from deciding their own destiny at the ballot box....

Hours over 40 per week of work is to return to compensation other than compensation time.

June 29, 2015
By Tribune Wire

Salaried workers (click here) who earn nearly $1,000 per week would become eligible for overtime pay under a proposal President Barack Obama unveiled Monday, lamenting that too many Americans are working too many hours for less pay than they deserve.

The long-awaited overtime rule from the Labor Department would more than double the threshold at which employers can avoid paying overtime, from the current $455 a week to $970 a week by next year. That would mean salaried employees earning less than $50,440 a year would be assured overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week, up from the current $23,660 a year....

Wall Street has used the word "salaried" for free labor. It has to stop. Blue collar workers has a right to fair pay for a day's work.

Gotta pay the mortgage. And the school supplies required for a proper education doesn't get any cheaper. 

As Chicago struggles with it's violent history, police are coming into focus.

June 28, 2015
By Jeremy Gorner

The city agency (click here) that investigates the most serious misconduct allegations against Chicago police officers has recommended for the first time in its nearly eight-year history that an officer be fired for shooting someone.

The Independent Police Review Authority found that the off-duty officer was "inattentive to duty" when he fired 16 shots at the wrong car moments after a drive-by shooting outside a Mexican restaurant in the East Ukrainian Village neighborhood in 2011. The officer was working security at the restaurant.

The case against the officer hinges largely on video footage obtained from a surveillance camera at the restaurant that IPRA said clearly showed a red Mitsubishi Galant had fled the drive-by shooting by the time the officer opened fire at a blue Chrysler 300M car, wounding its driver....

Some in Japan want a greater role in national defense, but, resistence is substantial.

June 30, 2015
By Jake Adelstein

...Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, (click here) enacted in 1947 under U.S. supervision, declares that "the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes." In the seven decades since the end of World War II, the Self-Defense Forces have not been permitted to participate in overseas combat, even to come to the aid of the United States....

Realize Japan has not been responsible for it's own national defense. As an ally it has been stunted. But, think about the tyrannical attitudes of the American electorate and realize how safe the world has become since WWII. It isn't as if Russia and China aren't world class militaries. 

For the USA to move away from over extension of it's sizable military and it's budget allies have to muscle up to becomes a stronger ally.

...The opposition has deemed the legislation the "War Bill." Debate started May 26 and was supposed to end June 24, but a vote has been pushed back to Sept. 27 — the longest extension in postwar history....

A new chief at Metrolink, Positive Train Control and ambitions to increase ridership.

June 30, 2015
By Dan Wiekel

...Metrolink needs to position itself better. (click here) It carries 42,000 to 45,000 riders a day. That doesn't sound like a lot, but viewed in terms of passenger miles traveled, it's second only to the MTA. At 40% to 45%, it has the highest fare box recovery rate in the region, and the subsidy per passenger mile is the lowest in the region. If you look at it holistically, Metrolink is highly productive. It carries lots of people long distances in an efficient manner. It does a lot of good things, though it needs improvement....

Christians in western countries don't measure hate for god through legalizing marriaage equality.

June 30, 2015
By Margaret Mayman

The recent decision to legalise marriage (click here) for same sex couples in Ireland has been cast as a victory against the Catholic Church. What secular commentators miss is that it was a decisive victory for ordinary Christians.

The people of Ireland, who are still overwhelmingly Catholic, decided to follow their consciences. In the US, many Christians, including some evangelicals, are celebrating the Supreme Court decision to legalise marriage equality. They are faithful followers of Jesus, whose life and teaching call us to radical inclusion and hospitality, who saw sin in practices that marginalised and excluded people. The biblical call to love God and to love our neighbours as ourselves provides the mandate for marriage equality.

The majority of Christians in Australia are making the same choice as the people of Ireland. We are tired of our voices and values being misrepresented by a noisy lobby group and out of touch denominational leaders. A 2014 poll found 59 per cent of Australian Christians support marriage equality. Not in spite of our faith, but because of it. The Australian Christian Lobby and Fred Nile's Christian Democrat Party do not speak for us. In fact, the CDP speaks for very few. The last census indicated that 61 per cent of Australians are Christian and only 3.24 per cent of the NSW population supported the CDP at the last state election....

Warren Buffet doesn't need a trade agreement to invest in foreign markets.

June 30, 2015
By Ruth Liew

Berkshire Hathaway's Australian (click here) arm is expanding into the healthcare insurance sector in Australia and will start writing new business in New Zealand, as the Warren Buffett-linked company ramps up its expansion in the Australasian region. 

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, which opened its doors in Sydney in March, will underwrite insurance to cover property, casualty and professional lines of hospitals and medical practices in Australia. 

It comes after the group flagged it would be playing in the large corporate segment of Australia's insurance market. 

The company has appointed former AIG executive Tony Bainbridge to lead the effort.

 "Tony comes to BHSI with more than three decades of industry experience and deep technical knowledge of the risks facing the Australian healthcare sector," Chris Colahan, president of Australasia Region for BHSI, said.

BHSI has also been given the green light by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to underwrite property and casualty insurance through its new office in Auckland....

An increasing number of countries are establishing health warnings on tobacco.

So, why are the tobacco companies continuing to survive? 

The US Chamber of Commerce has started a global campaign to reduce the effects of the truth on behalf of the tobacco industry. The industry is a blight to life, but, those that see only profits on a moment to moment basis don't care about ethics or morals.
June 29, 2015
...The RJR investment (click here) committee petitioned the Supreme Court in December, after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Richmond, Va., sided with plan participants who argued that plan executives breached their fiduciary duties in managing and later selling certain stocks in the plan and gave insufficient attention to those decisions. 

(R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. is now an indirect subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc., Winston-Salem, N.C.) 

After RJR Nabisco Inc. spun off its tobacco business and retirement plan investments were reset, the fiduciaries were sued for selling the company stock in both companies in the 401(k) plan too soon. On Aug. 4, the circuit court ruled 2-1 that a defendant has the burden of proof if there is a breach of duty, and that a fiduciary can be held liable for damages even for a prudent decision...

The shadow of 2008 is experienced by global markets as Greece still struggles.

June 29, 2015
By Arthur Beasley

...Ireland is not immune. (click here) As if to prove the point, Irish bank shares have taken a hit today in line with international conditions. Bank of Ireland shares dropped more than 5 per cent after the market opened, although the decline eased to 3.4 per cent at lunchtime. It was the same for Permanent TSB shares, down 4.65 per cent in early morning and down 2.27 per cent at lunchtime. 

Although Ireland’s huge national debt means the State will be at the mercy of money markets for decades to come, Irish borrowing costs were largely unperturbed this morning. Italian, Spanish and Portuguese bond yields were first to jump, illustrating their vulnerability events in Greece. German borrowing costs eased, a reflection of the country’s safe have status in times of woe.

But the interest on Irish 10-year bonds, the standard barometer of the State’s creditworthiness, was largely unchanged this morning at 1.6 per cent...

Earth is slowing by 1.27 seconds per year,

June 30, 2015

Since 1967, (click here) when clocks went atomic, human timekeeping has been independent of the earth’s rotation. The problem is, the planet is slowing down and clocks are not. So every few years, to get everything back in sync, scientists add a second. They’ve done it 25 times since 1972. The last time was 2012, but that was on a weekend. June 30 will be the first leap second during trading hours since markets went electronic....

To scientists it is called a hiatus.