Wednesday, April 06, 2016

We now know where the Trump family was in that absence from the presidential nomination race.

I am sure it was time well spent. Unfortunately ever aspect of the Republican campaign took advantage of the absence. That's a shame. A baby was a really good reason to be at home.

April 4, 2016
By John Boone

Ivanka Trump's growing family is picture perfect. (click here)
The 34-year-old businesswoman shared a sweet photo of her husband, Jared Kushner, and their 2-year-old son, Joseph, fawning over newborn baby Theodore James, whom the family welcomed on Easter Sunday, March 27.

No one wants egg on their face!

Please do not divide the Democratic Party by a food fight. I'd really like to keep the integrity and dignity intact. 

Please realize how important it is to maintain an intact party. 

I have stated from the beginning the Democrats were lucky to have two very qualified candidates with wonderful visions of this country. 

The convention will get here soon and we need to heal ourselves to be united in a march to November.

Come on, guys. Both candidates are loved by the Democrats. 

Do I have to point out where the Independent Senators cast their vote and who they caucus with? 

The national debt is owned by the Republicans.

The responsibility for the USA national debt lies at the feet of the Republicans and their failed economic strategies. We don't need them anymore. We know what to do.

January 7, 2015
By Phillip Bump

Since President Obama (click here) took office, the national debt has increased by $7.4 trillion. On January 20, 2009, it stood at $10.6 trillion; on Monday, it was at $18 trillion. That bit of data leapt to the front page of The Drudge Report on Tuesday, linking to an assessment from CNS The increase, the site's Terence Jeffrey writes, "is $65,443 per household, $70,985 per full-time worker and $84,266 per full-time private-sector worker." Grim.

We thought those figures deserved some context....
...Before 2009, it was relatively flat. Then, it exploded -- almost entirely in the "held by public" part of the debt.
But if you zoom in a little closer, say, from January 2008 to January 2010, you see something interesting: the fuse was lit before Obama took office. (Note that this graph is only the "held by the public" part of the debt.)

That's because the increase in debt in the early years of the Obama administration was a largely a response to the imploding economy -- just as the big bulge at the end of the George W. Bush administration (2008) was.
Debt increases are a function of the government not being able to pay its bills. Too little revenue (taxes) compared to costs (spending), and you have a deficit. Since 2002, this is what quarterly deficits (or, rarely, surpluses) have looked like....

Remember this guy?
If there is another global economic collapse, count in escalating deficits and debts globally. THAT IS NOT OUR PROBLEM! Republicans had forty years to carry out their economic strategies to secure the world from impoverishment. They destroyed regulation and we know the result. Local economies OWN THEMSELVES without worrying about any other issues. The National Debt will get paid when it gets paid. Every day will be like the next and it will be absolutely vital our local economies keep chugging along. No one is going to shutter the USA military. The world will still turn and we will have lives to live.

The bailout for Puerto Rico on political ads today is a lie.

There is no equating Puerto Rico to a US States. It is a territory and does not have the same rights as a state. The governance of the US territory will go back to oversight. There is no reason to do anything different.

The tone of the political ad paints a picture of irresponsible Democrats. It is nonsense.

February 25, 2016
By Heather Long

...The idea (click here) is to have a trusted third party look at the island's finances and come up with a plan -- to find a solution for its massive debt and also to help Puerto Rico climb out of its nearly 10 years of economic contraction.
"You go to Puerto Rico and the people are very nice. The island is very beautiful, but you see the financials and you get concerned immediately," says Phil Fischer, head of municipal bond research department for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Step 1 is getting reliable financial information from the government. Fischer says Puerto Rico is over 285 days late on its 2014 audit (there's finally a draft of the audit, but the process still isn't complete). Without the "real numbers," bondholders say they won't negotiate.
But the control board would mean a loss of some local authority. Some see it as return to the 1940s when Washington got to appoint Puerto Rico's governor.
"Most political and Puerto Rican government leaders are opposed to [a federal control board] if it's drafted in a way that you basically take away the Democratic rights of the people of Puerto Rico," says former governor Anibal Salvador Acevedo Vila, who is in the same party as the current governor....                           

Bernie has some interesting figures.

Washington, May 6 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) (click here) today introduced legislation to break up the nation’s biggest banks in order to safeguard the economy and prevent another costly taxpayer bailout. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) proposed a companion bill in the House.
“No single financial institution should have holdings so extensive that its failure could send the world economy into crisis,” Sanders said. “If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.”
The biggest banks in the United States are now 80 percent bigger than they were one year before the financial crisis in 2008 when the Federal Reserve provided $16 trillion in near zero-interest loans and Congress approved a $700 billion taxpayer bailout.
“Never again should a financial institution be able to demand a federal bailout,” Sherman said.  “They claim; ‘If we go down, the economy is going down with us,’ but by breaking up these institutions long before they face a crisis, we ensure a healthy financial system where medium-sized institutions can compete in the free market.”
The 2008 financial crisis had a devastating impact on the U.S. economy. It cost as much as $14 trillion, the Dallas Federal Reserve calculated. The Government Accountability Office pegged the cost at $13 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the crisis nearly doubled the national debt and cost more than the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
The six largest U.S. financial institutions today have assets of some $10 trillion, an amount equal to almost 60 percent of gross domestic product. They handle more than two-thirds of all credit card purchases, control nearly 50 percent of all bank deposits, and control over 95 percent of the $240 trillion in derivatives held by commercial banks. 
The Sanders and Sherman legislation would give banking regulators 90 days to identify commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds, insurance companies and other entities whose “failure would have a catastrophic effect on the stability of either the financial system or the United States economy without substantial government assistance.”...

$249 trillion in derivatives? How did that happen? There are no assets to cover $249 trillion. This is nuts. I think they have entered into such hideous amounts of gambling in order to make it impossible to break them up. Something needs to be done. This is unconscionable.  

LOCAL ECONOMIES EVERYONE. It is the only economy that will continue to exist after this mess hits the global economy.

There is no way to provide a bailout this size of indebtedness. This is all air. There is nothing to mitigate. The banking industry has crossed into the area of "no return." There is no way a bailout can be created to cover this level of gambling. 

The international community has to be feeling some of this by now. I am so grateful to the American people when they decided to take back their cities and towns. It is the only thing that can be done. When there is another financial collapse the USA will feel it, but, not nearly to the extent the rest of the world community will. STOP TPP. It won't solve anything and will make any collapse worse.

This is unbelievable. There is no bank that has the vault size to hold $240 trillion. It is all paper and air and nothing else.

Back to the basics everyone. Love your family and enjoy life. Keep it local. Foster new venues of economy such as art. Return to the classics for entertainment including orchestra's and theater. 
February 5, 2016
By Dahlia Lithwick

In December the Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging a Chicago suburb’s ban on selling and owning assault weapons. Two justices—Clarence Thomas joined by Antonin Scalia—offered up a bitter dissent when the court refused to weigh in. But the high court, which hasn’t heard a major gun case since 2010, nevertheless let stand a lower court’s ruling that the 2013 ban, adopted in Highland Park, Illinois, did not violate the Second Amendment or the court’s recent jurisprudence interpreting it. Gun groups were furious. This week, those same groups are rejoicing.
On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a case called Kolbe v. Hogan, sent the state of Maryland’s ban on assault weapons back to a federal trial court for a second, more scrupulous review. In a 2–1 decision, the majority of the appellate panel found that the semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines banned under a new Maryland law “are in common use by law-abiding citizens” and cannot be banned under the Second Amendment. The ruling sets the wheels in motion for another major gun fight at the high court. It will now likely have to answer this question: In a country where one bloody massacre seems to follow another, and 33,636 people were killed by firearms in 2013, does the court want to be in the business of handing out AR-15s like so much Halloween candy?...

This is just about the most ridiculous ruling I have ever heard of. No. It is the most ridiculous decision I have ever heard of. Supposedly what Kolbe v Hogan says is that if a gun, any gun, is in abundance in society it cannot be banned.

This is real simple; Al Capone lost the right to use an automatic weapon because of laws that took away the right of gun owners to turn the streets of American in into the middle east!

Something has changed that?

There are reasons to begin introducing sterile mosquitoes. There should not be a delay.

There is an emergency at our door and time is of the essence. Knowing this retaliation against a horrid disease has been tried and found successful seems too good to be true.

It is true insects become too resistant to insecticides and who wants strong insecticides in their homes and yards.

April 6, 2016
By Nina Fedoroff and John Block

...You’d be wrong. (click here) People are apprehensive about the release of these mosquitoes simply because they are genetically modified. And the company that produces them must traverse a time-consuming federal regulatory process before they can be released in the United States.

This is unfortunate, because biological insect control can eradicate pests over large areas. This is what these genetically modified mosquitoes are intended to do to Zika-virus-carrying mosquitoes....

...Unlike irradiated mosquitoes, which don’t compete well with wild ones for mates, genetically modified mosquitoes mate just fine, passing on the lethal gene. Small-scale tests conducted in the Cayman Islands, Panama and Brazil since 2009 reduced local mosquito populations by as much as 99 percent....

The sterile mosquitoes can be eradicated with chemicals if need be, but, they won't disturb any normal that I can think of. They will be introduced into a food chain. The study has to include the animals further up in the food chain to find if the genetic modification is passed along. Oddly, the Zika virus deforms it's genetic victims. We may find the food chain might have genetic malformations caused by the virus. The malformations of the virus vs the genetically sterile mosquitoes will have to be identified. That identification can and should be proven or disproven in the lab under controlled circumstances.

Other than that I do have a bit of confusion that I know consumers will raise. The average American is fairly smart when it comes to the well being of themselves and their family.

The confusion is this. Let me say this first. Educational material will have to be supplied when a treatment of sterile mosquitoes are introduced to the environment. The educational material has to include a hotline where Americans can call to ask questions. There can be a telephone tree with FAQs. If the FAQs don't answer their questions then have them write a letter to their local agricultural agent. We still have those very important folks working for us, don't we?

Confusion: If this method of controlling the Aedes aegypti mosquito does so up to 99 percent of the population, what happened in Brazil? Why did it fail? I realize the entire country or region has not been effected. There are still normal babies being born. But, what happened here? Is Brazil an outlier or is it within the anticipated statistics or has the mosquito mutated? Or perhaps the success of a previous treatment of genetically sterile mosquitoes was not repeated.

That confusion will come up and possibly the most frequently asked question. If the sterile mosquito was not introduced on subsequent years and realizing how quickly mosquitos reproduce it is understandable then there was a resurgence of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito carrying the Zika virus. That would be especially true in tropical regions.

If I remember correctly, the State of New Jersey has a department within it's agricultural department that conducts such studies. NJ's state entomologist actually has insects that remove invasive plants. That entomologist will breed the insects at request of land owners to help with invasive species of plant and/or other insects. That type of expert will know from years and years of experience HOW OFTEN an environment needs to be retreated to stop the growth or resurgence of the invasive.

I would think USDA or Interior would know about these existing programs. I know the telephone call to the state entomologist will be a surprise to them, but, it will be a welcome surprise. Just when speaking to them be specific as to why the call is necessary.

I think we have a winning strategy and it certainly is one the WHO will have already approved. The CDC could harness the information and statistics of the WHO to expedite any program in the USA. A mosquito is a mosquito. A virus is a virus. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel here.

Expediency is important.

Let's not drive American businesses out of the country. Sound like a plan?

February 1, 2016
By Sean Szymkkowski

The Flint, Michigan water crisis (click here) has put the spotlight on the entire state, as media and residents in the area look for someone accountable and wonder how a situation could have gone so badly, so quickly.
It’s not only residents in Flint, however. Businesses have been crippled by the lack of clean water, shutting down countless operations while the lead and chloride flow freely through Flint water pipes. But, General Motors spared itself over what could have been something truly disastrous for the automaker and its Flint-based assemblies.
According to a report from Automotive News, GM had a major red flag back in 2014 with its water supply. After making the switch to Flint River water that same year, union employees noticed corrosion of engine blocks.
“The water was rusting the [engine] blocks,” Dan Reyes, president of UAW Local 599, which represents the plant’s nearly 900 workers, said. The super-high levels of chloride in the water was causing corrosion when it came in contact with materials.
In December of 2014, GM made a grand move: it stopped the flow of Flint River water, and switched to a fresh supply from Flint Township, something made possible due to it bordering the township and infrastructure already being in place. The option was not offered to other local businesses or residents.
GM’s problem wasn’t the corroded lead pipes spewing chemicals into fresh water, but the chloride added to break down solids and contaminants. The chloride caused much “visible damage on parts leaving the machining process”, GM spokesman Tom Wickham recalled....

I doubt small businesses could afford to change their water supply. This would fall on the shoulders of the State of Michigan once again. Why is it an Emergency Manager that is suppose to shore up financial fitness would completely disregard any problems businesses would have? 

The fact businesses were not notified or consulted with before the water supply switch shows complete corruption of the state's purpose. Snyder's emergency managers weren't interested in protecting businesses so much as satisfying and promoting their cronies.

The only reason an emergency manager would not protect businesses, including GM, from any adverse effects of the corrosive water is because they didn't care. The emergency manager is suppose to be acting to protect financial fitness of Flint; they didn't care.

August 6, 2016
By the AP, Flint (Is there an AP office in Flint now? Or just a reference to the city?)

Hundreds of residents of Flint, Michigan, filed a racketeering lawsuit Wednesday targeting Gov. Rick Snyder and other state and local officials over lead contamination of the city's drinking water.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Flint, the suit is one of many arising from the decision to switch the Flint supply from the Detroit water system to the Flint River in April 2014 to cut costs. The move was supposed to be temporary, until Flint could join a new water authority that would pipe water from Lake Huron.

The lawsuit accuses Snyder and others of hatching a "wrongful scheme" to reduce Flint's indebtedness by stopping the impoverished city from buying treated Lake Huron water from Detroit, instead of "invoking time tested, well-honed federal bankruptcy protections for restructuring the debts of municipalities."

Snyder spokesman Ari Adler declined comment on the suit....

Considering the goal for a legislative initiative was completely ignored and businesses are suffering damage and losses along with the resident PROVES racketeering was the only goal.

Governing requires elected leaders to actually care about the people and their economy. It was nowhere in the Snyder administration.

This is not the first time Rick Snyder turned his back on Michigan. He did so in his private enterprises that sold a cutting edge Michigan company developed and started by the Michigan brain trust to Wall Street before he took office. Rick Snyder knows only his own best interests and not the best interest of the people of Michigan.

Ted Cruz has a rather unique position on abortion. He deprives a woman the right to choice under the 14th Amendment.

Amendment XIV

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The only way the 14th Amendment is held against a woman's right to her own body (a woman's body includes the uterus, lord knows a man doesn't deny she has a vagina) is if the fetus is viewed as a naturalized citizen.

Roe v Wade was decided on the 14th Amendment. A fetus is not an American with rights until it is a baby and born to the USA. The woman has a right to determine her chosen path in life. The entire idea a fetus has constitutional rights is absurd and it should never be consider so.

This is an amendment to the US Constitution. No matter what the legislature does it doesn't change the fact this amendment is very clear about defining citizenship for the USA and it's territories. There is no doubt a woman has a right to have an abortion.

The relationship between a woman and her physician is where the right exists. There can be no mistake or misinterpretation in that. The idea an Amendment can be altered by a legislature is a lie.

Section 5.
The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 5 of the 14th Amendment upholds Section 1 and does not destroy it. It states CLEARLY it enforces the Amendment by appropriate legislation. There is no way Section 1 changes. Besides this Amendment there are majority aspects of law that an American has a right to his or HER body. Removing control over pregnancy by stating a woman will never have a right to control her own path in life is not anywhere else in law, except, in politically driven corruption.

This Amendment being the supporting law for Roe v Wade recognizes the woman as a whole human being. Women will always seek control over pregnancy and the end of it. It is a human quality that is innate to her. She will seek the best care for her anticipated infant or she will seek the end of the pregnancy if a burden to her economic stability.

If the woman has other children, those children will take priority to the DECISION of giving birth. For those that practice their religion strictly and insist she has an obligation to giving birth is also not deprive her of that decision. There is no aspect of any constitutional law in the USA that takes away control over their body.

Prison takes control over an Americans' behavior and effect to society. That is not control over their bodies. The only place where an American's life is under control is in military practice. The military has no right to kill Americans, but, in defense of their country the military has the right to order behavior. The right of the military still does not remove the right to decide about a pregnancy. That is still reserved to the woman.

In recognizing the citizenship of the woman the country has an obligation to protect her life as well as the lives of all Americans. Protecting the borders is not the only protection the US Constitution conveys onto citizens. The protection of a woman's life includes her decision making regarding her path in life.

That is the law. A woman will always have a right to choice in pregnancy to term.

A woman's doctor needs her explicit permission to conduct any procedure regarding her expectant pregnancy. Everywhere in American life is the individual decision making, including medication ordered for an American's health. They don't have to take medication and an American can decide about their own death if terminally ill. The individual is where decisions lie when it comes to the body.

GEORGE: Ted, the Fourteenth Amendment says that no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Now, the amendment in its fifth section includes a provision that delegates to the Congress the power, and I quote, to enforce by appropriate legislation the provisions of this article.

CRUZ: Yep.

GEORGE: Now, do you believe that unborn babies are persons within the meaning of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and if so will you call on Congress to use its authority under the Fourteenth Amendment, pursuant to Section 5, to protect the unborn? Or do you take the view, as some do, that we can’t do that until Roe v. Wade is overturned, either by the court itself or by constitutional amendment? Where do you stand on that?

CRUZ: Listen, absolutely yes. I think the first obligation of everyone in public office is to protect life. Life is foundational. In fact, as you look at the Declaration, that ordering of unalienable rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, I think it’s a very deliberate ordering. Without life there is no liberty, and without liberty there is no pursuit of happiness. That each builds upon the other, and I very much agree with the Pope’s longstanding, and prior popes before him, longstanding call to protect every human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.

Ted Cruz is not a good practitioner of the law. He places his politics into an amendment that defines citizenship. Redefining citizenship to the purpose of political victories is not even a good idea.

Ted Cruz crosses over to the melding of religion and government in stating he backs the Pope to the point of altering the recognition of the entire person. If that were good practice the word of law of the USA dissolves on the very basis the human being is a total person. When someone commits murder it is the entire person and the behavior against the life of another that imprisons them. The idea a person can be divided when it comes to a capacity of her uterus removes a foundational building block of our democracy. There is no way Ted Cruz has the best interest of the USA Constitution in his priorities.

The USA Constitution recognizes the entire person and not pieces of them.
In looking at Wisconsin, the current leaders in Clinton and Trump have significantly more assets. Despite the assets they were successfully challenged. Their opposition has success after they enter the state and campaign to bring attention to their candidacy before the vote.

The issues for bother leaders are different. Hillary Clinton has a trust problem and people turn to Bernie Sanders to resolve that concern. Donald Trump's defeat is due to a fear about his presidency. A major of Wisconsin Republican voters stated they would be scared of Trump's presidency. The two front runners have a common reason for their defeating characteristics and that is the media. The media drives the fear and untrustworthy issue regardless of the truth otherwise.

I think the leaders need to move on these larger constituencies with a better tone to their campaigns and be among the voters. Their opposition has an advantage as they rely completely on their hard work when they cross a state's border. The most dramatic demonstration of that is Cruz and Trump in Wisconsin, although I have to admit the RNC's Chairman, Priebus, always puts forward a significant push to prove to his bosses he is the man for their party.

Good luck to all the contestants for their party's nomination.