Saturday, August 29, 2015

Minsk II was to be enforced by the "Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Minsk II is the second agreement between all major powers in the region of Ukraine, Ukraine government and the eastern Ukraine rebels. It is an interesting arrangement in that the eastern regions are to hold elections for local authority while maintaining their national borders of Ukraine. This agreement was based in a ceasefire of all hostilities. Included in Minsk II was an outline of an economic strategy that would allow the states of Ukraine to keep a larger portion of any taxes collected. The idea is to increase the economic development of the states. In that is the understanding when the states do well, the central authority will receive sufficient revenue to carry out its responsibility as a sovereign authority. 

By allowing more taxes to be kept by the states the culture identity would remain strong preserving the ethnic diversity of Ukraine. There is no reason for the eastern states to demand autonomy since Ukraine is more than willing to acknowledge that diversity as a very healthy part of Ukraine and it's economy. If one recalls these are the rebels that were stating they are too different in every way from the rest of Ukraine to remain a part of the sovereign borders. In other words, they were more Russian than Ukraine. 

The autonomy of cultural diversity would also insure a more peaceful border with Russia as there can be trade between the eastern Ukraine states and Russia. 

For the most part, Minsk II has held up without issue and the ceasefire has worked. There are elections slated in October and November to establish those that will govern the states of eastern Ukraine. However, there are rumbling that are causing an increase in hostilities with a return to violence.

Leaders of Belarus, Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine at the 11–12 February summit in Minsk

August 29, 2015
By Chad Thomas

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande (click here) warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday that any elections held in eastern Ukraine must conform to that country’s laws.

“Hollande and Merkel underscored the fact that elections in separatist areas that are contrary to current agreements would endanger the Minsk process,” Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s chief spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.

The European leaders’ first three-way conversation with Putin since June 22 follows signals by Merkel and Hollande that they are stepping up efforts to engage on Ukraine as the cease-fire negotiated in February in Minsk is faltering. The three emphasized that the accord is still the foundation for improving the situation in eastern Ukraine and reiterated their willingness to work with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to end the 16-month conflict, Seibert said. Merkel and Hollande met Poroshenko in Berlin on Aug. 24.

The three leaders also discussed the need for any vote in separatist areas to be held under the observation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and that any attacks or threats against the group’s special observers in the country is “unacceptable,” Seibert said in the statement.

Putin expressed his concern during the call over the Ukrainian army’s firing on settlements in Donbass and the buildup of armed forces along the cease-fire line, according to a Kremlin statement. Ukraine countered that pro-Russia insurgents are amassing heavy weapons in the Mariupol district and that two Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and another three wounded in the last 24 hours, Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, a military spokesman, said in Kiev....

Once again violence is manifesting rather than peaceful anticipation of a new country with diversity and freedom of trade. President Putin should not be stirring the pot so much as enforcing Minsk II. Minsk II enforces the Ukraine borders and does not dissolve them. Arming eastern Ukraine to a stronger military than the central government is not part of the agreement and is not the aspect that was to be encouraged in Minsk II.

The OSCE needs to be tasked to enforce Minsk II by engaging the UN Security Council through dialogue as to the infractions and how they occurred. There has to be one universal and neutral voice to speak to Minsk II and it's forward movement to peace. This voice needs to be heard on a frequent basis to stem violence. The circumstances are too fluid with Russia allowing sales of massive munitions to Ukraine's eastern provenances to expect occasional reporting to the UN Security Council to be effective.

August 27, 2015
By Natasha Doff and Daryna Krasnolutska

Ukraine agreed to a restructuring deal (click here) with creditors after five months of talks, giving President Petro Poroshenko some breathing room as he seeks to avert default and revive an economy decimated by a war with Russia-backed separatists....

...Poroshenko is seeking to meet the conditions of emergency assistance from the International Monetary Fund, which says debt restructuring should save Ukraine $15.3 billion through 2018, while trying to end a recession expected to bring a contraction of 8.7 percent this year, forecasts compiled by Bloomberg show....

...Franklin Templeton, which owns about $7 billion of Ukrainian bonds, was joined in the talks by fellow creditors BTG Pactual Europe LLP, TCW Investment Management Co. and T. Rowe Price Associates Inc.

Some bondholders, including Yerlan Syzdykov, who helps oversee $254 billion, including Ukrainian Eurobonds, at Pioneer Investments, have already said they will back a deal....

...“I’m offering Russia a restructuring opportunity that is the same as everyone else’s,” Jaresko said in the interview. “I’m hopeful that they will participate in this. It’s the best way to depoliticize this.”
Siluanov, the Russian finance minister, said in an interview with Rossiya 1 state television, “We won’t agree to a restructuring.” He added, “we will insist the funds are returned in full in December.”
Ukrainian officials say they expect to get $3.4 billion of International Monetary Fund financing over the next four months, on top of the roughly $6.7 billion received so far under the program.... 

More conflict will not help Ukraine, nor bring about peace and prosperity to eastern Ukraine states. When will eastern Ukraine realize it's peril is it's alone. A stable and peaceful election would be met with far better economic outcomes. I realize money is no object to rebels, but, this is getting to be a martyr status of eastern Ukraine. When will they put their people first and replace ideologies with good governance, peace and prosperity?

Let me just say one other thing about public spending to protect police officers. There is no unworthy expense.

If New York had bulletproof glass in their cars there is every reason to believe two officers would be alive today. 

Today, if something as simple as putting a gas pump at a municipal garage would have prevented this death no one know that.

Preventing danger to our police officers in such methods of protection is just a good investment. The public requires these people to protect them. It is the public's responsibility to make sure that happens in a way that honors the police in realizing there is significant danger in their lives.

It was a while ago when four officers were gunned down while meeting at a breakfast counter. Give these folks room to meet at their leisure. Give them ways of fulfilling those needs for comradely in safe ways. 

Police officers should be involved with the community, but, not to the extent the officers are compromised in their work. Being part of the community should be defined in job reviews, such as spending time at the YMCA or visiting schools for lectures on one subject or another. 

I think some structure in understanding the jobs of police officers might better help make decisions in their work, too. I am not a police woman. I have had police and state police in the family, including women. I know the fears. The family has never lost an officer performing their duty and these were officers on the street. They did the hard work. But, my family knew police were walking among people they saw at church and PTA meetings. Policing is not done in a vacuum. That is the responsibility of the community as well. The community needs to reach out to their officers as well and not simply through their elected officials. 

Please be careful with these folks.

Thank you to leadership to reign in the hatred in all measures it appears.

I suggest government have it's own repair facility that also houses it's fuel supply. That suggestion will bring about better economy to government as well. It controls the cost purchased on a large amount and it sets the cost of maintenance to any fleet of vehicles. 

In cities or towns with small numbers of vehicles, they should seek cooperation within their county to bring about a better economy on vehicles, fueling and maintenance. 

There is a not a person alive that supports officer deaths with the exception of crime networks. 

Officer Goforth was one of 1076 police officers dead from gunfire in Texas. These statistics have to improve.

Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth (click here) was shot and killed from ambush while pumping gas into his patrol car at a commercial gas station at the intersection of West Road and Telge Road, in Cypress.
Deputy Goforth was on patrol and had completed an assignment at the scene of a vehicle collision. He when to a local gas station to fuel his patrol car. As Deputy Goforth stood next to his patrol car filling it with fuel, a male subject walked up behind him, and fired multiple shots. After Deputy Goforth fell to the ground, the subject shot him several more times before fleeing the scene in a pickup truck.

The suspect was apprehended several hours later after a massive manhunt involving multiple law enforcement agencies from around the Harris County and Houston area.

Deputy Goforth had served with the Harris County Sheriff's Office for 10 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.

It was not long ago when New York found it vitally necessary to place bullet proof glass in their patrol cars. In this case, in Texas, the police officer was fueling his patrol car. It would appear the patrol car is a place where the public and police interact. I suggest every officer, sheriff, police union and every municipality review that reality and move to protect the officers. Sometimes it is a very doable measure that can protect their lives and there is absolutely no excuse of government to neglect that reality.

I like suggestion boxes.

It is a sad day in the USA that another police officer is dead.
I am getting more than a little annoyed with all the oppressive demands on Hillary Clinton's right to free speech. It would seem as though Republicans can use the First Amendment at will, but, Hillary Clinton has to be controlled. If Republicans are allowed to define the political language, they control the political outcomes. 

Hillary Clinton has every right to express her understanding of an issue using whatever words she wants to use. If Republicans are allowed to complain about her words and their context her message will be altered and oppressed. The First Amendment belongs to everyone in the USA, even minorities.

I did notice there is far less scrutiny of Senator Bernie Sanders than Hillary Clinton. His exemption could be due to the political right LABELING him as socialist. He isn't a socialist. He is a legislator that looks to the middle class as the moral statement of our democracy and he is correct. The middle class defines 'the opportunity' within the USA that provides upward movement and better quality of life.

The poor in the USA also defines the equity of our democracy. It is important the poor is upheld as the very minimum the USA allows to protect it's people. Removing voting rights from minorities and the poor is not the promise the USA has in it's image. The USA is suppose to be the land of opportunity and justice. It is time it returns to that status. 

This is not a single issue blog. It never was. Understanding what is good for Earth is to understand what is good for the people. People live in societies that define their lives. There has always been a clear understanding what impacts people impacts our Earth's troposphere. There is no separation at all. 

Where it comes to politics and the point of view of this blog, it is equity. It is recognizing everyone seeking to serve the people and love this country have the right to do so without oppression of any form. 

That is not my agenda, it is the agenda of the USA Constitution and the understanding our forefathers wanted the USA to be a place of equity, opportunity and lack of oppression. Our forefathers were great men, visionaries and men of peace.

Governor Scott Walker is demanding corruption instead of protecting the people of Wisconsin.

Water filtration systems can be installed at the site of acquiring the water from the aquifer. Regular testing is required to insure quality. Waukesha, Wisconsin needs to improve it's pollution record especially considering it's future plans.

August 25, 2015
By Monica Davey
WAUKESHA, Wis. — This city, (click here) once famous for its bubbling natural springs, sits about 17 miles from the shore of Lake Michigan. So when the state and federal authorities began demanding that the city address a growing contamination problem in its aquifer, the answer seemed simple: Get water from the big lake.

Surely, city leaders imagined, the needs of Waukesha, with a population just over 70,000, would be but a drop from the gigantic Great Lakes bucket, which amounts to one-fifth of the earth’s fresh surface water. That little drop, however, has stirred up a colossal struggle.

Waukesha has run smack into a landmark 2008 compact that prohibits large amounts of water from the five Great Lakes from being pumped, trucked, shipped or otherwise moved beyond the system’s natural basin without approval from the governors of each of the eight states that touch a lake — unless it is in a product like beer or soft drinks. Waukesha, despite being so close to Lake Michigan, is about a mile and a half outside the lake’s natural basin....

The plans of Waukesha water supply. I suppose tapping the Great Lakes will satisfy much more than modest growth.

It is predicted (click here) that the City will serve more customers in the future. In southeastern Wisconsin, population is expected to increase modestly in all counties over the next 20 years....

When it is cost effective, Scott Walker wants to eliminate EPA requirements. What else is new? This is called government corruption.

July 28, 2015
By Steven Verburg

Gov. Scott Walker wants to all but eliminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (click here) and place each state in charge of controlling air and water pollution within its borders if he is elected president, he told a conservative newspaper.
“I’m all for a sustainable environment, but you have to balance it with a sustainable economy, and I think in our state we’ve shown you can do that hand in hand,” Walker told the Washington Examiner in an article published Monday. “I think states can do it all across America much better than the federal government.”
Critics said without the EPA there would be a “race to the bottom” among politicians in states competing for business investment with fewer safeguards in one state against pollution flowing through the air or water to another state.
“You don’t need a college degree to know that air and water pollution do not respect state boundaries,” said Daniel J. Weiss, a League of Conservation Voters spokesman in Washington. “Wisconsin would be virtually helpless to protect its citizens from pollution from other states.”
Weiss said he hadn’t seen another 2016 presidential candidate make a similar proposal....


Water quality is water quality. Why should 50 states create their own standards when one federal agency can do the work?

When Scott Walker states it is best for states to set their own standards, he is saying I plan to let business exploit the health, quality of  life and well being of the people of Wisconsin.

One might ask why this is such an agenda item for Scott Walker.

February 23, 2013

Imagine a shipbuilder constructing a new boat (click here) that has within its design holes in the hull that will sink the vessel as it enters the water. Imagine an aircraft company building a plane that has wings that fall off once 20-mile-per-hour winds come into play as it attempts to leave the runway. Stupid, right?

So imagine a group of Republican legislators coin-operated by the many propaganda arms and billions of dollars from the Koch Brothers, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), DC Beltway rat Grover Norquist, the Carlyle Group and others trying to push through certainly unconstitutional, environmentally careless mining deregulation legislation doomed to be in costly litigation for years before the first digging the proposed largest open-pit iron-ore mine in the world. 

It’s bound to make lots of lawyers very happy and the pricey kickbacks for the Republicans who support the legislation will keep them primed for more extremist legislation down the political road. Getting rid of many historic environmental mining standards involving wetlands, groundwater, rock disposal that even moderate Republicans in the past supported is so easy when the current Republicans are bought and paid for....

No, there is no basic for the accusations of corruption within the Scott Walker governance of Wisconsin. 


I have to admit, Walker is quick on his feet, but, when it comes to moral governance and protecting the people from exploitation at the cost of their health he gets an "F-".

Any death is a tragedy.

Sincerest sympathy to the family.

August 28, 2015
By Faith Karimi, CNN

A man "believed to be the alleged gunman" (click here) in the killing of a uniformed Houston-area sheriff's deputy was in custody and being questioned Saturday morning, Sgt. William Kennard of the Texas Department of Public Safety told CNN.
No charges have been filed against the man, Kennard said. The man's name wasn't given.
It was the man's mother who called the Harris County Sheriff's Department about her son, Kennard said. "All the information she had heard led to him."
A red pickup truck was parked at the spot where deputies took the person in custody, according to video shot by CNN affiliate KTRK. Authorities had said the suspect drove away from the shooting in a red Ford Ranger.... 

I don't understand how this was an execution style murder. When I think of an execution I think of a person with hands and feet bound. It isn't bad enough the sheriff's deputy is dead? I don't think we need the adjectives.

It appears as though the gunman acted alone. Is that right? 

It would be remiss of me to ignore the comments on news articles. There are people asking "Where are the demonstrations?" That is racist. Murder is a crime. The African American community has been consistently witnessing the killing of unarmed men. We know the statistics within the African American population is far worse than in other demographics in the USA.

There are also profound problems in the victimizing of young African Americans both men and women. The prisons statistics is horrible. 

The sheriff's deputy should be alive today. But, so should be homeless and African American men. Confusing the issues over a horrible death of a sheriff's deputy is not honoring him.

Can the reporting stick to the facts and not attempt to create a far different set of racial tensions.

A zoo for Gaza.

August 8, 2015

Rafah - On a dirt road, (click here) behind tall white walls decorated with faded paintings of zebras, giraffes and lions, lies Rafah Zoo.
It is hidden away from Rafah's busy streets, but inside, hundreds of colourful birds in cages tweet loudly - almost drowning out the sound of children playing in a pool nearby.
Opened in the late 1990s by the Jumaa family, Rafah Zoo was the first amusement and leisure park for communities in the Gaza Strip.
Jihad Jumaa, a zookeeper and son of the zoo's owner, told Al Jazeera that his father's original mission had been to provide a place for Gaza's families - small children, especially - to relax and enjoy themselves....

Can we please provide expertise and funding for a place that protects life and doesn't destroy it?

Among ruined houses, a haven for Gaza's children lies in rubble (click here)
Ask to be directed to the latest wave of Israeli destruction in Rafah's al-Brazil neighbourhood and many fingers point towards the zoo. Amid the rubble of dozens of homes that the Israeli army continued yesterday to deny demolishing, the wrecking of the tiny, but only, zoo in the Gaza Strip took on potent symbolism for many of the newly homeless.
The butchered ostrich, the petrified kangaroo cowering in a basement corner, the tortoises crushed under the tank treads - all were held up as evidence of the pitiless nature of the Israeli occupation....

The Gaza children need a real petting zoo.

Do legislators ever ask the question, "How is the middle class doing?"

As the middle class decreases so do taxes and results in a greater national debt.

January 23, 2015
In 2014, (click here) the union membership rate--the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions--was 11.1 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.6 million, was little different from 2013. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers...

--Men had a higher union membership rate (11.7 percent) than women (10.5 percent) in 2014. (See table 1.)
--Black workers were more likely to be union members than were white, Asian, or Hispanic workers. (See table 1.)
 --Median weekly earnings of nonunion workers ($763) were 79 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($970). (The comparisons of earnings in this release are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences....) 

Unions are the backbone of the USA middle class. There has been a deliberate methodology to break unions, other than employee votes, by using staffing agencies. This decision puts the best interest of labor back in the hands of the people and not CEOs.

August 28, 2015

...The NLRB said Thursday (click here) that a Silicon Valley recycling center was a "joint employer" along with the staffing agency that provided the center's workers. The ruling determined that companies using workers hired by another business, such as temp agencies, contractors or even fast-food franchisees, are still responsible for labor violations and could be required to bargain with unions representing those employees....

This decision by the NLRB also strengthens the USA economy as well as quality of life of Americans. The decision calls to the forefront the quality of life of the American working poor.

As American labor increases their income there will be less demand on the US Treasury in supplying health care and food stamps. The impact of this decision will be important to the USA.  

Unions need to step up their recruitment efforts to return the middle class to the country.

Union memberships in the UK are different demographically. Unions are not solely a USA experience. The union member in the UK is more likely to an older employee.

1. Trade Union Membership: Long term and recent trends Around 6.4 million employees in the UK were trade union members in 2014. The level of overall union members was broadly unchanged from 2013, with a non - statistically significant reduction of only 40,000 over the year (a 0.6% decline). Current membership levels are well below the peak of over 13 million in 1979.
The numbers of UK employees increased between 2013 and 2014. As a result, the proportion of employees who were trade union members fell slightly to 25.0% in 2014, from 25.6% in 2013. This is the lowest rate of trade union membership recorded between 1995 and 2014.Over this period, the proportion of employees who were trade union members in the UK has decreased 7.4 percentage points, from 32.4% in 1995.
Female employees are more likely to be a trade union member. The proportion of female employees who were in a trade union was around 28% in 2014, compared with 22% for male employees.
A higher proportion of UK born employees were in a trade union compared with non-UK born employees. About 26% of UK born employees were in a trade union in 2014, compared with 18% for non-UK born employees....

Interestingly enough, the UK identifies seven economic classes and not three as in the USA. Now, why do governments collect these statistics? Either the government is concerned for the people of the country or it isn't.

3 April 2013 
  • Established middle class - the second wealthiest, scoring highly on all three capitals. The largest and most gregarious group, scoring second highest for cultural capital
  • Technical middle class - a small, distinctive new class group which is prosperous but scores low for social and cultural capital. Distinguished by its social isolation and cultural apathy
  • New affluent workers - a young class group which is socially and culturally active, with middling levels of economic capital
  • Traditional working class - scores low on all forms of capital, but is not completely deprived. Its members have reasonably high house values, explained by this group having the oldest average age at 66
  • Emergent service workers - a new, young, urban group which is relatively poor but has high social and cultural capital
  • Precariat, or precarious proletariat - the poorest, most deprived class, scoring low for social and cultural capital...