Monday, May 02, 2016

Show off. It was so good of the Russians to come say hello.

May 2, 2016
By Paul D. Shinkman

Stuttgart, Germany — The U.S. and its NATO allies (click here) are dusting off their old playbooks this week during a trip abroad by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, citing the myriad threats facing Europe as the impetus for the Pentagon's pushing the Cold War alliance back onto a continental war footing.
The specter of Russia to the east will hang over a Tuesday ceremony in which Carter will oversee the change of command for U.S. European Command, based here in Germany. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti will take over the post from Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, moving into a role that traditionally also makes him the supreme allied commander of NATO's European forces.
"This is more than just a change-of-command ceremony," said a senior defense official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity about U.S. policy for Europe and goals for Carter's trip. "[Carter] will talk about Europe and the challenges facing EUCOM. … That means steps that need to be taken to deter Russian aggression."
Scaparrotti, a counterinsurgency veteran of the war in Afghanistan, spent his latest tour leading U.S. forces supporting the South Korean military against the threat of its northern neighbor....

Yellowstone's "Grand Old Man."

May 2, 2016
By Karin Brulliard

This grizzly, nicknamed "Scarface," cares little about the paparazzi that follow him around Northern Yellowstone

There are more than 750 grizzly bears (click here) in and around Yellowstone National Park, but none as famed as a brawny, cocoa-colored male dubbed No. 211.

He was best known by his nickname, which was inspired by his fight-maimed face and damaged right ear: Scarface. He roamed far, wide and often within sight of delighted tourists and their cameras. He was captured, collared and released by biologists 17 times, making him "one of the most studied bears," in the region, according to the Seattle Times.

By last fall, those scientists were warning that Scarface might not make it through the winter: He'd dropped from a peak of 600 pounds to 338 pounds. At 25 years old, he was elderly.
They were right that his time was short. But Scarface didn't die of natural causes. Last week, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks department released a statement that said No. 211 had been fatally shot in November near Gardiner, Mont., just outside Yellowstone's northern edge....

Sometimes poachers will drive wildlife outside the border of protected areas to kill them and they call it hunting.  There should be a buffer to the borders of protected areas where hunters can't kill. It is unfortunate to think hunters simply wait for a break to kill very healthy wildlife.
I am happy Hillary Clinton has found her stride. But, I'll still caution; don't count on 'the woman card' to carry the election. It failed most Democrats in 2014. Fund raising is one thing, campaigning is something different.

May 2, 2016
By Christina Wilkie
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (click here) raised a record-setting $2.4 million dollars for her presidential campaign during the last three days of April. And she has Donald Trump to thank for it
“If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote,” Trump said in a victory speech last Tuesday. “The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card.”
Clinton’s response was swift: “If fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in!”
Within hours, Clinton’s campaign had released a “woman card.”  

When Jan Brewer is not a delegate there is something very wrong. I don't buy it that everything went as it was suppose to.

Donald Trump needs to come to terms with the idea the Republican Party is corrupt to the bone. They are corrupt. It is the way it is. Example: Pence talked out of both sides of his mouth at once and then backed Ted because of common cronies.

I found it amazing to listen to corruption in the flesh.

PS: Pence is afraid of Trump.

Trump's bribes are simply not as generous as everyone else's. Trump's staff simply has to ask the delegates from Arizona who they are voting for and the sabotage will be revealed.

May 2, 2016
By Laurie Roberts
Correct me if I’m wrong, (click here) but Donald Trump won Arizona, didn’t he?
Republicans who were able to vote in the March primary – the ones who braved hours in lines, the ones who didn’t find their voter registrations mysteriously changed to independent – voted overwhelmingly to Make America Great Again. Or something like that.
In Arizona, it was Trump: 286,743, Cruz: 172,294.
So naturally, at the state Republican convention on Saturday, Ted Cruz supporters cruised into most of the delegate slots for the July Republican National Convention. Of the state’s 58 delegates, Trump got about a dozen. Not even former Gov. Jan Brewer, a Trump supporter, was able to snag a spot....

"The Continuum of Harm"

S.W.A.N's are meeting at a website. (click here)


There has been significant work going on when it comes to understanding the problem with sexual assault in our military ranks. They have decided on a title. "The Continuum of Harm." 

I want to apologize to every woman ever assaulted while serving in our military. Believe me tears come into view when I realize how very hostile that environment is without even entering the combat zone

"Continuum of Harm" Navy website (click here).

Department of Defense - 2014-2016 Sexual Assault Prevention Program (click here)

US News and World Report article from 2014: (click here)
Culture of sexual harassment at the service academies troubles Pentagon leaders.

Then I ran across this "Continuum of Harm" Exercise (click here) for young ladies age 9 thru 12 grades and beyond.

What is going on in this country? We have continuums of harm from grade 9? What????????

Senator Lee should pursue a very different venue to bring power sharing to third world governments.

I congratulate Senator Mike Lee for his concern regarding the USA munitions provided to Syrian rebels and their best outcome. It has always been the concern of this blog that such ventures into CIA operations be ended whereby weapons are provided to rebels without any sovereign validity. It is pure foolishness to conduct such relationships. 

We have seen the result of American munitions legitimately purchased and authorized to the Iraqi government become possessions of Daesh and turned on the very people who are citizens of Iraq. It is very bad policy to allow the free flow of millions of dollars US munitions into rebel territory. 

The USA has been involved in killing people for far too long. Any regime change has to come through peaceful measures inspired by legitimate elections. As we know President Assad is the legitimate president of Syria. He currently has the authority of enforcement to the laws of Syria. The people of countries like Syria need to develop political parties that begin with local elections of their elder council. From there expertise can be part of international talks regarding the equity of their interests at the national level. I sincerely believe before the USA dives into providing small arms to any rebel group there needs to be a relationship to build on. 

In the USA we have annual meetings of mayors. It would be a welcome change to see that level of organization internationally.The UN is fully aware of the annual meeting of mayors in the USA.

I rather see the USA develop mitigation talks with rebels and established sovereign governments to provide incentive in moving toward shared governance. There simply is not enough religious peace in the middle east to believe these peoples can work out tensions without an international platform. 

If such a structure existed the invasion into Iraq could not be conducted by "W." Established peaceful mitigation of conflicts in a country would bring clarity to the issues and the best outcomes to all the religious and ethnic groups. 

When the USA assisted the Kurds to save the lives of the Yazidis (click here) it was the right thing to do. However, the intelligence regarding the place where they lived and dire need for protections and/or extraction was non-existent. That is not a country ready to understand where and when genocide is possible. The USA has sincere lack of information through their 'on the ground' intelligence services. TOO MUCH CYBER AND NOT ENOUGH SINCERE INTELLIGENCE.

Perhaps, Senator Lee can take the lead to find a method with the United Nations that begins peace talks to turbulent areas of Earth. If there was a venue between President Assad and the rebels before the violence broke out, Syria might not have experienced the ravages of Daesh. The same would have held true with Iraq. The goal should be to end the need for lands where refugees reside.

Of course, Senator Lee should expect sharp criticisms with the demand such efforts begin with Palestine.

"The Law of the Sea"

The United States of America is not a member of the UN convention.(click here). Most of the world is a member of this convention, 

Color code:
Green - member parties
Blue - Member countries per European Union
Yellow - Signatories
Red - Non-members

The topic came up during a US Senate Armed Services Committee Session. I didn't know the USA was not a member of the Law of the Sea, but, I do recall writing the Bush White House about joining it many years ago. It seems to me and others in power in the US Senate joining the convention opens up a venue to dialogue directly with China. That venue is far more appropriate than simply imposing a military presence in the Pacific Ocean through the TPP as US national interests.

The relationship in the Pacific Ocean between China and the USA is confrontational, albeit North Korea. I find it unfortunate the USA has an imposing stance in the Pacific Ocean rather than one of partnership. In joining the Law of the Sea, the United States of America could be included in the dialogue which includes our allies. It is a missing piece in our foreign policy. Our allies are fully engaged with this convention and the USA is blind to that involvement. That is simply wrong. The USA needs to move to ratifying the convention and join our allies in dialogue that is beneficial to them and many other countries. It has the potential of being a peace initiative as well.

I hear Snyder is trying to meet up with President Obama in Flint on Wednesday.

It might be a good time to remind Snyder there is a sizeable amount of money in the rainy day fund.

May 1, 2016
By Ally Hickson

On Wednesday, (click here) President Obama will travel to Flint, MI, to see the effects of a spike in lead levels in the city's drinking water.

He'll also meet 8-year-old Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny — after all, she's the one who convinced him to make the trip.

Help me to stop laughing.

Ted Cruz is standing next to "Bought and Sold Pence" and stated he wants to be a friend to unions.

OMG. I have not laughed this much since I don't when. He must be rehearsing for SNL. 

If nothing else he could be said to be rehearsing for becoming a traffic cop.
April 1, 2016
By Kira Lerner
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz (click here) said during a radio interview Thursday that he supports national “right-to-work” legislation, a type of anti-labor law that Wisconsin passed last year in an effort to cripple the state’s unions.

The Texas senator, who is currently leading in the Wisconsin polls, said in an interview on WTMJ radio in Milwaukee that such right-to-work laws are a “fundamental right,” according to the Associated Press. Right-to-work laws are designed to severely weaken unions by forcing them to provide services without payment from workers.
Cruz said during the interview that supporting a right-to-work law will show that government “sides with the working men and women of this country.” He added that Wisconsin’s law restricting unions “is exactly what we need to do in Washington.”...

Hillary Clinton emails is not Lewis Libby.

Senator Bernie Sanders supporters see more than a FBI investigation, it is about trust. They have not received representation to the extent they have found it in Senator Sanders. This is the generation the USA turned it's back on. It is going to be very, very difficult to win their vote.

The Democrats are going to be faced with a movement that can mirror the Tea Party. This is just the beginning, but, these young voters do not see their interest in ANY establishment candidate.

Let's review:

"Occupy Wall Street" is real. This is not a temper tantrum. It is not naïve people that don't understand the delicacy of power in the USA. These folks are well aware of their reality and it is anchored in facts they face everyday. They did their hard work already. They attended colleges and universities across this country and are still waiting tables.

The reality of the well educated waiters or waitresses is not new, what is new is the fact this is an entire generation. I remember a young woman sitting in Zuccotti Park telling a story that a person from a Wall Street firm in one of the surrounding buildings came to her after reviewing her resume. She was offered a job. She stated, "I have been offered the chance of a lifetime and I intend to go forward with my new employment. I will never forget the people here in the park and will work for them on my own time to help change their reality."

March 14, 2016
Ahead of Tuesday’s key primaries, (click here) supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gathered in Zuccotti Park in New York City to call voters in Illinois, Florida and Ohio. Many of the phone bankers were former Occupy Wall Street activists who returned to the site of the 2011 encampment because they saw parallels between Occupy and Sanders’ message. "We were really inspired by the incredible amount of grassroots momentum and energy that’s been inspired by the Sanders campaign and its critique of Wall Street, of money in politics and a rigged economy," said Beka Economopoulos, a former Occupy activist who helped organize the phone bank. But other Occupy activists disagreed with what they saw as the co-opting of the movement; they staged a "mic check," using Occupy’s signature call-and-response to say the movement should remain independent of political candidates. Democracy Now!’s Amy Littlefield and Charina Nadura filed a report from Zuccotti Park....

Just to note about Zucotti Park:

It is "Ground Zero" for this generation. The owners of Zuccotti Park should allow a plaque to be established to honor the generation that said, "No more." The idea they can be ignored is a folly. They are great people and they expect the government to work for them in the face of establishment cronyism. They are a generation that have found a path in the USA and until Senator Sanders their interest in politics was zero. They sat out the 2014 election when they could have changed the majority in the US Senate. They don't care about the establishment and why should they, no one is celebrating them, except, Senator Sanders.

Some of these demonstrators have been run off their occupation sites because of the establishment finding them lawless rather than embracing their message. They have been lied about as rapists and druggies in the media. They work their cyber reality in ways no one could imagine. There are members of this generation actually injured that required time in the hospital. Their strength is in their numbers and their numbers can only be registered through cyber space. They live a cutting edge in cyber. They find jobs and network to attend rally like atmospheres where food trucks have come to represent their generation's "Night out on the town."

This election is sincerely a curiosity to establishment candidates. The 'old power standard' that comes with big money donors DOESN'T WORK ANYMORE. This generation is redefining "citizen." I envy them. Every politician needs to recognize this generation with promises to carry out government reforms to end corruption and promote the country first over Wall Street. Corruption has cast this generation into a corner of the American society that leaves them unwanted in employment. We have had enough and their plight tugs at the heart strings of many in previous generations. Until those few that began national attention to Occupy Wall Street their parent's generation didn't have a clue. Their parents have had their own awakening in 2008, but, the abandonment of this generation is new.

Their loyalties are not going to change. They are loyal to Bernie Sanders and their investment into him. He lives a nightmare as a US legislator this country cast on them. Why would they change their minds or settle for less than what they demand?

July 13, 2006
By Joel Roberts

The CIA officer whose identity (click here) was leaked to reporters sued Vice President Dick Cheney, his former top aide and presidential adviser Karl Rove on Thursday, accusing them and other White House officials of conspiring to destroy her career.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Valerie Plame and her husband, Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador, accused Cheney, Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby of revealing Plame's CIA identity in seeking revenge against Wilson for criticizing the Bush administration's motives in Iraq.
Several news organizations wrote about Plame after syndicated columnist Robert Novak named her in a column on July 14, 2003. Novak's column appeared eight days after Wilson alleged in an opinion piece in The New York Times that the administration had twisted prewar intelligence on Iraq to justify going to war.
The CIA had sent Wilson to Niger in early 2002 to determine whether there was any truth to reports that Saddam Hussein's government had tried to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger to make a nuclear weapon. Wilson discounted the reports, but the allegation nevertheless wound up in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address....

Voter ID is proving to be about voter suppression that favors electing Republicans.

May 1, 2016
By Michael Wines and Manny Fernandez

San Antonio — In a state where everything is big, (click here) the 23rd Congressional District that hugs the border with Mexico is a monster: eight and a half hours by car across a stretch of land bigger than any state east of the Mississippi. In 2014, Representative Pete Gallego logged more than 70,000 miles there in his white Chevy Tahoe, campaigning for re-election to the House — and lost by a bare 2,422 votes.

So in his bid this year to retake the seat, Mr. Gallego, a Democrat, has made a crucial adjustment to his strategy. “We’re asking people if they have a driver’s license,” he said. “We’re having those basic conversations about IDs at the front end, right at our first meeting with voters.”

Since their inception a decade ago, voter identification laws have been the focus of fierce political and social debate. Proponents, largely Republican, argue that the regulations are essential tools to combat election fraud, while critics contend that they are mainly intended to suppress turnout of Democratic-leaning constituencies like minorities and students....

Ah, Rep. Bill Hurd speaks with forked tongue. Hurd is not unusal in the US House or Senate. The Republicans are attempting to transfer national parks and federal lands to the states. You know, like the land the Bundi's (click here) own over a million dollars US in lease fees.

This bill by Hurd is not about Homeland Security, it is about making the federal definition of federal lands and national parks meaningless. Then one has to wonder how the rich get richer on the backs of taxpayers.

I sincerely believe this issue is a national problem, not just in Texas. I would encourage candidates to at least mention they would defend the national parks and federal lands.

People won't want to give up their parks and lands. It is the one place in any state where people can take the family for a change of scenery from the suburbs. These lands are the single best bargain no matter the time of year for Americans seeking recreation.

Last year, freshman U.S. Representative Will Hurd (click here) cosponsored a bill requiring the Department of Homeland Security to build close to 200 miles of road in the Big Bend region, giving Border Patrol agents unfettered authority to chop up large swaths of desert wilderness.
So when Hurd posted a video last month espousing the virtue of Big Bend National Park, his opponent, Pete Gallego, a Democrat who represented the district for one term before Hurd, took notice. Gallego’s campaign posted a cheeky attack ad on Facebook in response.
“Yeah, we think Big Bend is indeed awesome,” the ad reads in big block letters. “That’s why we oppose Rep. Hurd’s bill that would destroy the Big Bend … Let’s elect a leader who will *actually* protect the Big Bend.”...

I always thought being a US House Representative was about taking care of the people and not sneaking around behind their backs to benefit cronies and profiteers. Silly me.

When visiting this Park, don’t forget a horse ride. This is one of the best ways to enjoy the Big Bend. You have two options, one hour horse ride or taking a 3 hour adventure tour in Big Bend Ranch State.

29 April 2016

The Bullock Texas State (click here) History Museum’s latest exhibition celebrates the history of Big Bend National Park through stories, artifacts and photographs. “Journey Into Big Bend” continues through Sept. 18 in the third-floor Rotunda Gallery at the museum.
Big Bend, which covers more than 800,000 acres, was the first national park designated in Texas.
The exhibition will include archaeological finds, contemporary artifacts and field notes from paleontological research. Rare casts of two fossils — a 65-million-year-old flying reptile and a 50-foot long crocodile — will be on view.
Organizers hope the personal tales from archaeologists and other experts will preserve the area’s history. One such interview is with Mescalero Apache elder Freddie Kaydahzinne, which includes information about the spiritual significance of the region in American Indian history and culture....

Why do I feel like there are going to be four candidates for president in November?

The parties will have better funding for their candidates. It remains unknown if better funding will actually elect a President. 

May 1, 2016
By Maryalice Parks

Bernie Sanders said today (click here) he will consider the Democratic Party's convention "contested," unless his opponent Hillary Clinton gets enough pledged delegates to win nomination without super delegates.
The Vermont senator essentially vowed to fight to win over those coveted party elites -- the super delegates -- until they formally vote in July.
"She will need super delegates to take her over the top of the convention in Philadelphia. In other words, the convention will be a contested contest," he said during a press conference in Washington, D.C. Sanders' top brass has been arguing this point for weeks, but this was the most direct statement the senator has made about his outlook on the remaining portion of the nominating process.
While it is unlikely that either candidate will be able to win enough pledged delegates alone to secure the nomination, according to estimates from ABC News, Clinton has the backing of 520 super delegates at this point, bringing her very close to the threshold....
"Morning Papers"

The Rooster


April 26, 2016
By Christian De La Rosa
Gwinnett County, Ga. (CBS 46) - (click here)
Residents are fed up due to roosters on the loose in their neighborhood. The problem is occurring in Norcross, which is northeast of Atlanta. 
“They wake me up early, like 4 o’clock in the morning!” said Christie Palmer, a resident of Goodwick Way.
Neighbors say flocks roam around like gangs, going from yard to yard. Chicken droppings are also causing health concerns.
“I’m concerned about their [her kids and dogs] health,” said Palmer.
“The problem is people are letting them loose because they don’t want to get fined,” said Sgt. Arelis Rivera with the Norcross Police Department.
Roosters are actually illegal in Gwinnett County, and in Norcross the city’s municipal code only allows owning chickens if they’re kept in a pen on ...

"Good Night, Moon"

The waning crescent 

24.2 days old

28.9 percent lit

2 May 2016

NASA scientists have come up with a new model (click here) to explain the mysterious swirls that appear to be painted on the Moon’s surface.
These “lunar swirls” can be tens of kilometres across and appear where ancient bits of magnetic field are embedded in the lunar crust – although not every time....
...The third theory says that, since electrons and ions in the solar wind are electrically charged, they respond to magnetic forces and that the magnetic field on the Moon could shield the surface from weathering by the solar wind.
The new research looked closely at the third of these theories, relying on new observations by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). But scientists found some problems when it came to modelling the theory.
“The problem with the magnetic shield idea is that the embedded magnetic fields on the Moon are very weak – about 300 times weaker than Earth’s magnetic field,” said Bill Farrell of NASA Goddard.
“It’s hard to see how they would have the strength to deflect the solar wind ions.”
But what the new models did show was that the magnetic field could create a strong electric field when the solar wind attempts to flow through.
And this powerful electric potential could deflect and slow particles in the solar wind, reducing weathering on the surface of the Moon, leaving brighter regions where it was protected.
The new models are published separately as a series of three papers, one in Icarus on March 1, 2016 by lead author Andrew Poppe of the University of California, Berkeley; one in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics on June 18, 2015 by lead author Shahab Fatemi of University of California, Berkeley; and one in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets on November 25, 2015 by lead author Michael Zimmerman of The Johns Hopkins University.
But the research has not ruled out the other two theories....