Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Saudi Arabia is wondering who their friends are.

The surprise legal attack by the USA on the Kingdom isn't the only surprise Saudi Arabia has received. There is information Saudi Arabia learned about Iran's intentions to disrupt Haj and bring terrorism to this holiest of time for Muslims. (click here

If these facts about Iran are true, there is a reality Iran has not considered. Iran is a minority among a majority of Sunni countries. I am not sure Iran would even have support from Iraq's Shia.

October 2, 2015
By Reuters

Baghdad, Iraq — Iraq's most powerful Shiite cleric (click here) called for a global war against ISIS on Friday, a day after the prime minister said he would welcome Russian airstrikes against the group on his country's soil.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who has a huge following and can often influence government thinking, was speaking through an aide after nationally televised Friday prayers.
"Battle with Daesh is destined for all Iraqis," said Sistani, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS. "But it's not their battle alone but the whole world, because terrorists target with their dark ideology all humanity, its culture and morals."...
The Grand Ayatollah al Sistani has always been a man of peace. Carrying out violence with Saudi Arabia could put Iraq in the middle of a war between the two countries.
Saudi Arabia has stated the security at the Haj will be substantial and people will be safe. What is concerning is the fact these terrorist attacks are stated to be involved directly with Supreme Leader. It turns terrorist attacks into an attack by a sovereign country.

19 May 2016 
...On trial are 30 Saudis, (click here) one Afghan and one Iranian, all accused of being members of spy cells related to Iranian intelligence. Evidence of a number of Iranian plots to target the peace and security of the Kingdom, create confusion and spread chaos during Haj has also come to light.
According to a report in a local publication, one of the accused had sent an audio message to the Iranian leader Ali Khamenei asking for financial support to set up a special Shiite center in Makkah. The center would instigate sedition and sectarianism, and provide key information about the Haj season to Iranian intelligence. The center would be helped by Iranian intelligence working with the OIC....
It is a serious statement by Saudi Arabia that the global community cannot neglect. It would seem as though Russia's influence with Iran is not as respected as Russia thought. There needs to be intense diplomacy to discern the facts and set limits on Iran to carry out such attacks.
Russia has to be instrumental to end any opportunity to take advantage of these reports to ignite a conflict in the middle east. Turkey is itching for a fight. Turkey is NATO. Nothing else needs to be said.
I remind NATO that Europe could have been infiltrated by jihadists out of Syria. This is not the time to increase tensions within Europe.
Iran has to be stopped, otherwise, there will be larger instability in the middle east, southern Asia and quite possibly weaker countries in Europe.

The USA Congress sure knows how to through a monkey wrench into the definition of ally.
19 May 2016
By Sabria S. Jawhar

The recent passage (click here) of a bill by the United States Senate that would allow the victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for “damages” establishes a dangerous precedent in America’s relationships with foreign countries.

Although the bill, which comes 15 years after the attacks, still must be approved by the House of Representatives and President Obama has promised to veto it, the actions of the US government should provide the Kingdom with a valid reason to reconsider its relationship with the United States.

Saudi users of the social media have been particularly outspoken about the bill, which is more about money and personal interests than it is about democracy or justice. The hypocrisy is breathtaking, really, considering the immense damage the United States’ foreign policy has done to the Middle East. Iraq and Syria are in a bad shape and on the verge of disintegration almost entirely due to the US meddling in Iraq and its neglect of Syria, a byproduct of America’s failure in Iraq.

The United States continually flaunts its special status to remain above the law with its drone warfare and holding terrorism suspects without allowing access to due legal process.

But no one said that life is fair in the world of geopolitics and some countries enjoy the advantages of a thriving economy, a massive military and vast resources while smaller countries with lesser resources should be happy just to bask in the glow of their big neighbors.

The United States, however, is poised to shoot itself in the foot if this 9/11 bill becomes law....

I  am quite surprised at the number of US Senators willing to go along with this serious measure to turn loose attorneys on a sovereign country. I have trouble believing this is anything except a political hot potato. I may be wrong, but, with all those Senators in full agreement sounds more like politics than not.

An important study out of Texas.

May 18, 2016
By Jennifer Hiller

Oil and gas activity (click here) has triggered most of the earthquakes in Texas for decades, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Southern Methodist University.

The study links earthquakes to the energy industry for nearly as long as there has been oil drilling in Texas, occurring in all of its oil and gas fields scattered in various geographic swaths of the state —North Texas, the Panhandle, West Texas, East Texas and Gulf Coast region, including South Texas and the 400-mile Eagle Ford Shale.

The research was published Wednesday in the journal Seismological Research Letters.

Cliff Frohlich, senior research scientist and associate director at UT’s Institute for Geophysics, said that while much attention has been paid to Oklahoma’s recent earthquakes, which have generally been stronger than those in Texas, researchers thought the Texas story was important to document....

The best well informed Republican voter reads "People Magazine."

If he ran in 2000 and measuring his success today, we would not have entered Iraq.

"The Inside Story Of That Time Trump Almost Ran for President in 2000"

October 6, 2015
By Michael D'Antonio

Trump chronicled how he returned from near bankruptcy to a personal net worth estimated at $1.4 billion by Forbes Magazine in his book, The Art of the Comeback.

When we first met, (click hereat the start of 2014, Donald Trump was already quite sure he would seek the presidency of the United States. He offered two reasons. First was his antipathy toward President Obama, whom he had spent years trying to delegitimize with absurd questions about his citizenship. (“There’s so much about him that’s a lie,” Trump later told me.) Second was his confidence in the encouragement he received from social media. He noted that every day he heard from Twitter followers who were encouraging him to run and this support represented, in his mind, the pulse of the people....

If there is going to be criticism of any campaign at any level there needs to be CONSISTENCY in authority at the DNC.

You know what I found interesting about the meeting of Donald Trump, House Speaker Ryan and Reince Preibus? The fact that after the meeting Reince stood with Donald Trump in affirmation of Mr. Trump's victories in leadership. I found that really, really nice. At some level Reince Preibus has to be disappointed in the fact a traditional standard bearer wasn't being chosen. But, he didn't let his disappointment over shadow professionalism.

May 14, 2016
By Mark Henson

A top aide to Bernie Sanders (click here) early Wednesday slammed the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), saying she is disrespecting the Vermont senator's presidential campaign.
"We could have a long conversation just about Debbie Wasserman Schultz and how she's been throwing shade at the Sanders campaign since the very beginning," Sanders's campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said on CNN.
"Whether it was the debate schedule that were very few and far between and scheduled on weekends when no one was going to be watching them, whether they shut off Sanders's access to his own data and we had to sue them in federal court to get them back, whether it was these joint fundraising agreements with the Hillary Clinton campaign which are taking money from the state parties and giving it to the DNC."...

I don't care who the "top aide" is, he or she needs to be viewed as a truth teller and whistleblower. Nothing happens to his or her job status, EXCEPT, for a real good pow-wow between the top aides to Rep. Wasserman Shultz and the Chairwoman herself to find out where SHE IS FAILING their expectations of the DNC's leadership.
One other thing about health care:

I strongly recommend complaints be filed when a patient receives a refusal of care. It begins (if there is time) with a referral to a company's grievance committee/process. Don't stop there if the refusal continues.

In very well respected health care companies the people making these decisions are Licensed Practical Nurses supervised by Registered Nurses. There are no physicians involved in these decisions with most of the current major insurancers. 

Demand a decision by a physician and when you do send a copy to the federal government as well as state insurance commissioners, US Representatives and US Senators. This practice is simply outrageous.

The reference to health plans that lead to refusal of care, is not about being paid for end of life decision counseling. These people are not facing end of life. The health care industry is misusing this authority and attempt to write a 'life plan' for their members. Once the life plan is decided, the decisions of the health care PLAN is then the blueprint and authority of which the companies stack their priorities. The companies want complete control so they can predict the future expenses and then decide on premium prices. The health care insurance industry is not willing to accept their members as they present health decisions.

These decisions are abandonment of statistics. Statistics is used by government to determine whether or not a health care insurance company is out of line in the defense of their premiums. The health care insurance CEOs are ending the possibility of liability and/or criminal outcomes if it can prove there was an agreed life plan.

HHS should publish annual statistics on all DRGs every few years. Record stats annually and publish as needed. Statistics is a legal designation that cannot be changed regardless of methodologies presented by companies. They are not allowed to determine the law.

Get rid of the counseling UNLESS it is ordered by the physician.

The physician order has to be reflected in the notes of a patient's medical record. Counseling in this case is very different than mental health counseling.

All states have insurance commissioners, but, not all commissioners are the same either.

Senator Dan Coats states all the Obama Administration does is sell ideas to the people. He states one of the most successful is "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."

Dan Coats ignores the fact some of the doctors involved on "you can keep your doctor' were proving care on "Survival Only" policies. Those policies became disqualified under the Affordable Care Act and rightfully so. The Senator then referred to an exciting New York Times article, "Sorry, We Don't Take Obamacare."

Amy Moses and her circle of self-employed small-business owners (click here) were supporters of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act. They bought policies on the newly created New York State exchange. But when they called doctors and hospitals in Manhattan to schedule appointments, they were dismayed to be turned away again and again with a common refrain: “We don’t take Obamacare,” the umbrella epithet for the hundreds of plans offered through the president’s signature health legislation.
“Anyone who is on these plans knows it’s a two-tiered system,” said Ms. Moses, describing the emotional sting of those words to a successful entrepreneur.
“Anytime one of us needs a doctor,” she continued, “we send out an alert: ‘Does anyone have anyone on an exchange plan that does mammography or colonoscopy? Who takes our insurance?’ It’s really a problem.”
The goal of the Affordable Care Act, which took effect in 2013, was to provide insurance to tens of millions of uninsured or under-insured Americans, through online state and federal marketplaces offering an array of policies. By many measures, the law has been a success: The number of uninsured Americans has dropped by about half, with 20 million more people gaining coverage. It has also created a host of new policies for self-employed people like Ms. Moses, who previously had insurance but whose old plans were no longer offered....

Policies that don't qualify should not be continued because people are willing to bargain with their life with these policies. The American people should get used to the idea they need healthcare insurance. They also have to be their best advocate. When such issues arise as have with Amy Moses and her group, they should address these problems to the New York State Insurance Commissioner with a copy to HHS in Washington, DC.

Here is the link to the New York State Commission (click here).

On that e-page is a subheading "File a Complaint." This is the location of that subheading. (click here)

Besides doctors refusing health care on the state exchanges, the most egregious acts of health care insurance companies is the cost of premiums.

The health care insurance found a way to pad their costs with 85/15 ratios.  The health care insurance companies are allowed to have 15 percent profits built into their premiums if that is the sole source of income. When increasing the amounts paid to health care providers that 15 percent increases as well. When these insurers can pad their profits in this manner it is corruption. Needless to say the premiums insurers charge have to be reviewed by HHS and Congress,

Additionally, Americans have to be insured rather than pre-existing conditions which for American women a pre-existing condition included having a uterus. There is simply no getting around the fact Americans have to be treated fairly and without prejudice. Prejudice can no longer mean medical diagnosis and treatment.

There is also an aspect to Obamacare that has to be reviewed. There is a cost to the insurance companies for education of their subscribing members. The insurance carriers are taking this too far. They are attempting to provide managed care that is not reviewed by the doctor to the patient. I am confident this is harassment through telephone calls and mailings to demand ever so politely the member provide information usually only stated to physicians. There is even one senior health care provider that wants to completely rewrite their health care plan, again without the physician.

The education factor in Obamacare stems as a legitimate aspect to health care form the Patient Bill of Rights. It is completely wrong for an insurance company to take on the idea they know better than the physician. This is an invasion of privacy, information they can use for statistical research and a NEW tool to deny care because they talked the patient into it. 

If the middle management that handles these questionnaires were eliminated, it would reduce the cost to members significantly.

Basically, the health care insurance companies are still carrying out hostile policies to Americans. The state's insurance commissioner needs to receive letters and reporting of all these complaints. How can a state insurance commission know what needs to be done if there aren't forthcoming complaints from constituents. 

Amy Moses and her affiliates need to complain to the New York Commissioner regarding their experience. It isn't right a small business owner is compromised in a choice to offer health care when trying to retain good and adequate staff. This is a real improvement for these small business owners who could only provide 'survival policies." Those small business owners need to provide testimony to a US Congressional Committee to bring about THE OPPORTUNITY that Obamacare was suppose to provide BEFORE the health care insurance companies got their hands on it.  

I would encourage not only citizen involvement in improving Obamacare, but, state insurance commissioners as well. Citizens should have confidence a complaint or reporting finds a dead end at their state insurance commissioner office. 

Life is too precious and in the USA we are suppose enjoy our lives. Taking on a health care policy should not be a detriment to a good quality of life. Health insurance is suppose to be an enhancement to life, but, not consuming life. 

These problems are legitimate and need attention by authority. However, the health care industry should realize the people of the USA are looking at extensions of Medicare as a profound answer for many Americans. There are candidates, such as Senator Bernie Sanders, receiving considerable attention from the American electorate, which sees "Medicare for All" as the real destination of American healthcare.

Healthcare insurances should be reasonable in their companies governance and lose the hubris, otherwise, the government will do something. 

The USA is facing serious health problems, including, opiate addiction that leads to heroine addiction that is causing death rates in age groups never seen before. The USA is going to tackle these problems with its earliest steps including empowering police officers to give Narcan to victims found unconscious and on their way to death. The government of states and federal will solve these problems, it would be better if the problems didn't exist at all.

This will be aired beginning at 11:30 AM today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 (click here)

Judge Garland Supreme Court Nomination Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee hear testimony from friends and colleagues of Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to the vacant Supreme Court seat.

Judge Merrick Garland (click here) learned Thursday that there's no blarney in the claims that the Supreme Court nomination process is grueling.  
Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, got his first taste of the scrutiny he will face as President Barack Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, roughly 24 hours after he was thrust into the spotlight. 

EPA Employee Misconduct

The Republicans on the House Committee and Oversight (click here) look forward to committing human rights violations.

Supposedly it is an advantage to the personnel managers at EPA to carry more brevity to a firing/discharge of employees committing misconduct The Republican on this committee want an additional tool to punish and not simply dismiss employees that have committed misconduct. That tool is to deny any and all benefits from employees being discharged from the EPA. No retirement, no resignations, only firings which would include refusal of all benefits including health care.

Mr. Meiburg, Acting Deputy Administer of the EPA states all those tools regularly exist and there is no additional regulations or laws necessary.

If a person is caught in issues that have accumulated to bring about discharge from the department, it needs to be a case by case basis as to THE BEST ROUTE for any employee to take, not simply throw them out on the street.

If a person has been a part of the federal government to qualify for retirement at the time they are dismissed, he or she should be encouraged to take that best route. If a person wants to resign because of a good work ethic, but, fell into disrepair of their political image or some kind of reputation issue, that resignation should be allowed and respected. 

Even if a person is discharged because of egregious problems resulting from work then the vacation time, compensatory time, sick time and all other benefits should be extended, including health care as a possible stop gap to economic tragedy.

The idea a federal employee regardless of rank, age or reputation should be thrown out on the street without any chance of protecting their private life is outrageous. This level of cruelty should never be a part of the USA federal government. Besides that it is a retention issue. Why should an employee leave a job to take a federal job, regardless the length of time, if the employee support system is this harsh on any perception of misconduct.

The other aspect this is to realize the Republicans effecting this change can leverage influence into an employees job performance and reputation to remove valuable employees without even a thank you. 

It is a good thing there are unions involved with public employees. Their needs for job security and personal security is far different than employees in the private sector. 

I find the advocacy by the Republicans on this committee to RUIN a person's life at the time they are discharged from the federal government. Employees should never be considered for ruination of their life when leaving the federal government. 

US Rep. Stacy Plaskett representing the Virgin Islands said it all, "Firing of employees should not be the only way federal employees are managed by the personnel departments." The ideas of these Republicans bring about the quality of human rights violations in the manner they want federal employees treated. They are simply outrageous. No employee should have their lives ruined because of their service regardless their political affiliations.

Noam Chomsky states USA GOP corruption was evident, but, this election broke the cycle.

While the defeated Republicans are licking their wounds and waiting for 'the silliness' to fade, they still are not respecting the fact the Republican middle class and REPUBLICAN POOR are having their voices heard. There are some people, including Noam Chomsky, relieved the old regime is defeated.

17 May 2016
By David Edwards

Acclaimed political theorist Noam Chomsky (click here) warned this week that today’s Republican Party could literally be “the most dangerous organization in human history.”
During an interview on Monday, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman asked the renowned dissident to explain the rise of Donald Trump within the Republican Party. (click here for interview)
Chomsky pointed out that the phenomenon was an “extreme version of something that’s been going on just for years in the Republican primaries.”
“Every time a candidate came up from the base—Bachmann, McCain, Santorum, Huckabee, one crazier than the other—every time one rose from the base, the Republican establishment sought to beat them down and get their own—get their own man—you know, Romney,” he explained. “And they succeeded, until this year. This year the same thing happened, and they didn’t succeed. The pressure from the base was too great for them to beat it back.”
According to Chomsky, the roots of extremism in the current Republican Party went back Ronald Reagan’s administration....

Donald Trump filed an FCC income for 2015 was $557 million.

The only missing piece is to know what percentage was paid to the USA treasury. The political right wing has always claimed the middle class and the poor were not Americans because they don't pay the amount of taxes that pay the debt of the USA government.

It is important to note the percentage of income tax paid because it proves the middle class and poor proportionately pay more than the million-billionaires. The middle class and poor want respect. They work for a living which should be valued by Wall Street and the USA wealthy. 

Warren Buffet made a political statement in support of the middle class and poor when comparing his percentage income to that of his secretary. The percentage is a statement of support in tax reform. There are plenty of loopholes that need to be closed and there needs to be a tax increase for those that can afford it AND pay far less dollar to dollar of the middle class and poor. These monies are exceptionally important to assist in paying the national debt that grew due to two wars not paid for and a huge economic crash that required federal monies stimulus to encourage the economy to recover.

The Recovery Act is also in need of respect. The Recovery Act did stop the economic decline and the enormous return from record losses in employment. The Recovery Act is often stated to be a worthless effort. That is a blatant lie. States were able to find funding over the following years to complete or start a return of construction jobs. The construction sector was hit the heaviest in the 2008 collapse.

But, the Recovery Act is never recognized for it's monetary stimulus from the first day of it's passage.

January 28, 2016
By Angie Drobnic Holan

...During the campaign, (click here) the independent Tax Policy Center researched how Obama's tax proposals would affect workers. It concluded 94.3 percent of workers would receive a tax cut under Obama's plan based on the tax credit to offset payroll taxes. According to the analysis, the people who wouldn't get a tax cut are those who make more than $250,000 for couples or $200,000 for a single person. Obama said he intended to raise taxes on those high earners, a promise he reiterated during the State of the Union, and that revenue would offset the stimulus tax cut....

Warren Buffet never apologized for paying a smaller percentage from his income to taxes. His percentage was legal and allowed by the IRS rules and regs. His stated percentage of income tax in relation to his secretary was an enormous statement about the unfairness of the tax regulations and it's favored status of the wealthy.

Basically, Warren Buffet said the USA income tax regulations were rigged to benefit the wealthy. AKA, "Bought and Paid for corruption of our political system." 

May 17, 2016

New York, NY - Donald Trump (click here) told the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that his income for 2015 exceeded $557 million, and he says his net worth remains "in excess of $10 billion dollars."

In a press release, the GOP presumptive nominee said he had filed his personal financial disclosure (PFD) Monday and called it "the largest in the history of the FEC."
He also took the opportunity to slam Bernie Sanders for requesting "an extension for his small report" and went on to say that it showed the difference between a business man "and the all talk, no action politicians that have failed the American people for far too long."
The Center for Public Integrity's Dave Levinthal first reported Sanders' request for an extension in late April....

The middle class is getting respect.

Upward movement is important to individuals, but, also to the treasury of the USA. The upward movement is an opportunity that creates a healthy America. Our country is stronger when upward movement is at the core of our economics.

May 17, 2016
By Jonnelle Marte

The Obama administration (click here) will unveil a new rule Wednesday that would make millions of middle-income workers eligible for overtime pay, a move that delivers a long-sought victory for labor groups.
The regulations, which were last updated more than a decade ago, would let full-time salaried employees earn overtime if they make up to $47,476 a year, more than double the current threshold of $23,660 a year. The Labor Department estimates that the rule would boost the pockets of 4.2 million additional workers.
The move caps a long-running effort by the Obama administration to aid low- and middle-income workers whose paychecks have not budged much in the last few decades, even as the top earners in America have seen their compensation soar. The last update to the rules came in 2004, and Wednesday’s announcement is the third update to the salary threshold for overtime regulations in 40 years....

Congratulations to the candidates, each had a victory.

The USA is alive and well. 

May 12, 2016
By Jessica Taylor

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton (click here) appear to have split victories in the Oregon and Kentucky primaries Tuesday night.
With all counties reporting in Kentucky, Clinton was leading Sanders by a narrow margin of 1,924 votes out of more than 450,000 cast. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes told CNN that Clinton was the "unofficial winner," but the Associated Press said the race was too close to call.
Sanders had a more comfortable victory in Oregon, where he was leading Clinton by more than seven points. De facto GOP nominee Donald Trump, the only remaining candidate, easily won the state's Republican primary.
Ultimately, Tuesday's dueling victories did little to change the trajectory of the Democratic race. The two will end up splitting delegates in Kentucky, and Sanders will gain a handful more than Clinton in Oregon. But her delegate lead will still remain almost 280 pledged delegates — virtually impossible for Sanders to make up in the remaining six state contests....