Friday, January 13, 2017

The Flint River Water Project is ongoing.

Impeach Snyder. I want to see the detailed study conducted by his office before Flint was changed to Flint River water.

January 13, 2017
By Tyler Clifford

Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine (click here) received a $500,000 grant Friday to support the development of a registry for victims of Flint's ongoing water crisis.
The one-year grant was awarded by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Servicesand will allow for the planning of a database that was recommended by the Flint Water Advisory Task Force. The registry will be used to monitor the long-term health of more than 100,000 people, primarily children, affected by the use of contaminated drinking water.
Of the funds, $450,000 will go to MSU and $50,000 will be held for a liaison position to work between MSU and MDHHS....

It is time to send Ms.Chelsea Manning home. She has no support in a man's prison.

January 13, 2017
By Charlie Savage

...But Ms. Manning, (click here) who is struggling to transition to life as a woman while enduring a bleak existence at a male military prison, has asked President Obama to commute the remainder of her sentence before he leaves office next week. She poses particular challenges as a prisoner, with a volunteer support network that helps bring global attention to her treatment, fragile mental state — she twice tried to commit suicide in 2016 — and need for treatment that the military has no experience providing.
Her request comes as the world is again focused on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, whom her leaks made famous. The organization last year published Clinton campaign emails, obtained in a hacking, as part of what American intelligence officials claim was a covert Russian operation aimed at tilting the election to President-elect Donald J. Trump. (Ms. Manning declined to discuss WikiLeaks, saying only that her decision to send documents to it “was neither an endorsement nor an affiliation.”)
It also comes at a time of flux in the military’s policies on gender identity. Last June, the Obama administration rescinded a ban on transgender people serving in the military and began overhauling its practices, which eventually would include providing gender reassignment surgery. But Mr. Trump has derided the lifting of the ban as “politically correct,” raising the possibility that his administration may roll back the changes.
The White House declined to comment on Ms. Manning’s commutation request. The Army declined to comment about her situation at Fort Leavenworth, citing privacy laws....

Winter brings the homeless into focus as they seek heat and survival.

I stood outside a small house owned by a church today. It was 10:00 AM and the showers were beginning inside.

There was a line to the front door. See the church turned this small house over to the homeless to find comfort and safety during daylight hours.

The line dissipated quickly as soon as the doors opened to the house. There is one shower in that little house, where a person is allowed 15 minutes. The shower is only open for four hours. So, on any given day there are 16 showers provided in that tiny house.

When I arrived to observe what was occurring there were about 12 people already there which would mean anyone that came afterward had a rare chance at showering today.

But, as I stood there and observed I was astonished at the age of that 10 AM group. They were young adults. They weren't your standard homeless. They were young and appeared to be single.

We have a problem in the USA. The people that need to be heard have no megaphone. They are lucky they have a phone at all. I passed a public park and watched a young woman holding a flashlight examine each trash can as she passed them. Sometimes she would reach inside and take something out. The young woman was alone and about mid 20s.

There is something very wrong in the USA and the working poor is breaking into homeless individuals with their children scattered to the winds.

I observed another young woman with her jeans nearly off her bottom. This was no fashion statement, she was pregnant. I stopped and asked her if she could use some clothes and she said, "No, the baby will be here soon. Thanks, anyway." She was walking along with a service dog at her side. I asked why she had the dog and she stated, the counselors thought it would help and it does. She said she had already lost two children to a Division of Social Services and was hoping there would be room soon at a shelter so when this one was born she didn't have to give it up. She said she thought it would be different this time because she was with her husband, but, a week ago he left and never said why. She hadn't heard from him since. It is my opinion men are natural care givers when they are in the role of providing. From what she said they were homeless and nothing was getting better, so she doesn't think he could stand it anymore and left. She didn't know if he was alive or dead.

And she refused help with some clothes. I think she was still in shock of losing him and unsure of her future. The service dog gave her something to care about.



And the Democrats are worried about a message? I think it is time they listen to Rep. Barbara Lee.

Oh, yeah, for all those White Supremacists laughing at the homeless women, every one of them entered here as a living example were pretty white girls.

Is there a minority in the USA, other than the Secretary of HUD, that in the very least has been insulted by the Trump campaign and subsequent transition?

January 12, 2017
By Jen Hayden

“Inaugurations are celebratory events, (click here) a time to welcome the peaceful transition of power and honor the new administration. On January 20th, I will not be celebrating or honoring an incoming president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry to the White House.
“Donald Trump ran one of the most divisive and prejudiced campaigns in modern history. He began his campaign by insulting Mexican immigrants, pledging to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and then spent a year and a half denigrating communities of color and normalizing bigotry. He called women ‘pigs’, stoked Islamophobia, and attacked a Gold Star family. He mocked a disabled reporter and appealed to people’s worst instincts.  I cannot in good conscience attend an inauguration that would celebrate this divisive approach to governance....

The United States of America is not exclusively for the wealthy and privileged. This country is about the Middle Class and the vigilance in protecting it has been wanting for some times now.

The majority of the people in this country have known the Middle Class even if it is in poor repair and under attack. The Middle Class is under attack. That case was never more evident as the global economic collapse of 2008. It devastated the Middle Class and the USA had a new paradigm, the growing poor and working poor.

The welfare reform of Gingrich's contract with America has turned into a nightmare. It has cast the poor into a pit of the working poor. Now it takes three jobs working at minimum wage or less to support a family and that family doesn't own a home either.

The "W" years saw Americans settle for Black Friday stampedes and purchasing more Chinese products than American made. We saw our pets suffer with little to no oversight as to the products being brought to American docks. There is every indication the vicious crony politics that brought 911 and fear to our country will continue, but, only get worse with hate and prejudice mounting. There is something to be said for the 1960s love fests.

I do not believe Donald Trump. His views are too extreme and while he wants everyone to believe it is just politics there are indications it is not and the administration shows it.

It is up to the Democrats to build a strong campaign that focuses on the Middle Class and the economic strength of the Middle Class. It is the many people that move into better paying jobs and work long hours to find that first down payment that no longer exists.

Pope Francis was here and listened in Philadelphia I believe to a young couple stating how they have postponed marriage in order to save for their wedding and a home. Pope Francis listened and later answered all those people that came to him to plead their case. Pope Francis said the United States of America makes it to difficult to be in love, marry and raise a family in a safe and comfortable home.

GOT THAT!!!!!!!!!!

Pope Francis said the United States of America makes it to difficult to be in love, marry and raise a family in a safe and comfortable home.

Now, if the Democratic Party cannot get their arms around that and carry the battle flag, don't ask me who will and we as Americans are lost. 

Rep. Barbara Lee is more than correct. The cost of being American has gotten to be far to high. We sacrifice happiness in the way people are intended to live it far too much. We concentrate too much on extraneous issues of politics and completely miss the dire message our people need to hear from Democrats. Bring the Middle Class home again and return decency and happiness the very center of the message. 

The Pope made the argument years ago and everyone thought he just came to wave hello and increase the tithing. NOT! If anyone really paid attention his messages in New York City with the meeting of faiths and hearing the pleadings of the people in Philadelphia. Pope Francis is not an icon for money, he is an icon for quality of life. He wants leadership out of the USA to carry such values forward to be admired again, not for the opulence of a gold covered Las Vegas hotel, but, for the happiness of our people and the economy that brings.

Rep. Barbara Lee is correct. Every American life matters and it is up to the Democrats to bring this runaway Republican train to a stop!

Chaffetz needs to be investigated.

He is always barking about something and people leave him alone because they are afraid he'll bark at them.

This is an attempt at intimidation of the Office of Government Ethics. Chaffetz doesn't like it because the President Elect is under fire for many things, including, conflict of interest. I am sure the Office of Government Ethics has had to tolerate bigger menaces than Chaffetz.

Chairman Chaffetz should memorize and recite the 14 General Principles from the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Executive Branch employees. (May 2009) (click here)

Trump is a rule breaker. He is not happy following rules. He has been spoiled by years and years of exploiting contractors and golfing all in the same day. He has a company that is a family company and does not have an IPO nor does he want an IPO. So, if Chaffetz is going to try to intimidate the Office of Government Ethics he might just find himself with ethics violations himself. More than that, Intimidation is a form of harassment at the very least and that is a law and not an ethics violation.

January 13, 2017

The Republican chairman (click here) of the House Oversight Committee on Thursday issued a stern letter, including a veiled threat of an investigation, to the federal government’s top ethics monitor, who this week had questioned President-elect Donald J. Trump’s commitment to confront his potential conflicts of interest.

In an unusual action against the independent Office of Government Ethics, Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah accused the office’s director, Walter M. Shaub Jr., of “blurring the line between public relations and official ethics guidance.”

He cited a bizarre series of Twitter posts that the office made in late November congratulating Mr. Trump for divesting from his business — even though Mr. Trump had made no such commitment. Mr. Chaffetz also said that the office had failed to adequately investigate Hillary Clinton, based on allegations that she had not properly disclosed fees paid for speeches she gave after leaving her post as secretary of state....

The 14 General Principles from the handy dandy pocket card

l. Public Service is a public trust. Well, there is a novel idea. Will Mr. Trump ever come to terms with the idea he is in service to the public? He rarely is an ethical man. He causes more contractor bankruptcies than anyone in the USA. I doubt seriously a day has been lived in his life where his ethics stopped his bad behavior.

2. Employees (the President of the USA is a government employee) shall not hold financial interest that conflict with conscientious performance of duty. 

Right. I suppose this is the one Chaffetz wants to carry out his intimidation tactics. Trump would say, it all depends what the definition of "conscientious performance" means.

See, what Mr. Chaffetz doesn't care about is that words are not manipulated when written with a meaning. I realize Republicans have their own dictionary, but, it is not recognized by Merrium - Webster. The Republican dictionary isn't published. Most corruption is a task to discover.

December 19, 2014
By Drake Baer

Conscientious people make connections. True. Connections. I hardly believe making connections with Russians to hide immoral and unethical behavior falls into that definition.

...Taken together, (click here) the research suggests that conscientiousness is the personality trait most often correlated with job performance. 
How do you know if you're conscientious? Conscientious people tend to be super organized, responsible, and plan ahead. They work hard in the face of challenges and can control their impulses. 
Psychologists classify conscientiousness as one of the "Big 5" personality traits, with the others being agreeableness, extroversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience. The other traits can predict certain workplace outcomes — extroversion is a great fit for highly social gigs like sales and openness to experience often leads to creativity — but conscientiousness is remarkable for the way it cuts across roles....

3. Employees will not engage in financial transactions using nonpublic government information or ALLOW the improper use of such information to further any private interest.

That one is really interesting. Does anyone actually see Kushner withholding government information from his financial interests? I mean, get real here. He may not have learned exactly how painful incarceration can be from others in his life.

If Trump's immediate family doesn't have more interesting lives than living in the White House there has to be some serious questions asked.

4. An employee shall not, except as permitted by subpart B of this part, solicit or accept any gift or other item of monetary value from any person or entity seeking official action from, doing business with, or conducting activities regulated by the employee's agency, or those interests may be substantially affected by performance or nonperformance of the employee's duties.

I think this is the Part B referred to, but, I could be wrong.

5 C.F.R. part 2635, Subpart B

B. Informational Materials

OGE has also added a limited exception for gifts of informational materials. 81 Fed. Reg. at 81,655-81,656 (to be codified at 5 C.F.R. § 2635.204(m)). This exception acknowledges that gifts of informational materials foster information sharing, benefit the agency and the Government, and accommodate the right of citizens to petition their Government. Under this exception, an employee will be able to accept informational materials if they:

(i) Are educational or instructive in nature;

(ii) Are not primarily created for entertainment, display, or decoration; and

(iii) Contain information that relates in whole or in part to the following categories:

(A) The employee’s official duties or position, profession, or field of study;

(B) A general subject matter area, industry, or economic sector affected by or involved in the programs or operations of the agency; or

(C) Another topic of interest to the agency or its mission.

An employee may not, however, accept informational materials exceeding an aggregate market value of $100 in any calendar year from any one source, unless the agency designee makes a written determination that the employee’s integrity or impartiality would not be questioned. In making the determination, the agency designee should consider the relevant factors set forth in the new section at 5 C.F.R. § 2635.201(b).

...or entity seeking official action from, doing business with, or conducting activities regulated by the employee's agency...

See, considering the relationship the USA has with Russia right now, any shift in the wind will be viewed as a very big problem. Mr. Trump and his family entourage are not coming into a new government as George Washington did. They are coming into a fairly young country of 240 years and 241 years as of July 4th. 

Mr. Trump has precedent that sets the tone to much of the relationships with other countries. Now, if Mr. Trump and let's say Chancellor Merkel were able to renegotiate the treaty Russia blatantly dissolved as a participant that might mean something. I would imagine Russia would have to adhere to Minsk II and additionally remove all military arsenals from the eastern border of Ukraine. Then there is that mess in Crimea. I really don't see much of what Putin's Russia wants as being successful within the new administration REGARDLESS of the naked pictures of "Golden Showers."

Now, the reason there won't be concessions to Russia is because the other parties of that treaty already have conceded all they are going to concede. There was no war with Russia. The reason there was no war with Russia is because the people of Ukraine would suffer incredible losses. That is simply not the way such issues should be resolved if HUMAN SURVIVAL is valued. The children of Ukraine are important people and the children of other countries would state the same. 

So. The idea Russia could simply waltz into the White House for a State Dinner is highly, highly unlikely anytime soon. 


5. Employees shall put forth honest effort in the performance of their duties. (Job Description)

6. Employees shall not knowingly make unauthorized commitments or promises of any kind purporting to bind the Government.

There goes the clothes allowance that got out of hand while in Paris.

7. Employees shall not use public office for private gain. 

That felt so go I want to write it again.

7. Employees shall not use public office for private gain.


8. Employees shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment of any private organization or individual.

I think that is straight forward. The dangerous cliff here is if an employee believes they are above the law and simply don't have to think about being impartial. Although, even in Miss Universe pageants the judges are to remain impartial. I doubt it is going to be a problem. I don't think there are dressing rooms in the Oval Office either. There are gyms in the Congress though. I guess the Capital Police will have to stand a female officer at the Congressional Women's Dressing Room when Mr. Trump is in the building. "Trump in the House" has never meant more. 

9. Employees shall protect and conserve Federal property and shall not use it for other than authorized activities. 

That should not be a problem, Mr. Trump already values property.
10. Employees shall not engage in outside employment or activities, including seeking and negotiating for employment, that conflict with official government duties and responsibilities

That really throws the 'set up' Mr. Trump has for his interests in his business out the window. The Trump Organization is an international organization that conflicts with USA government business. The State Department in particular is going to have a very big problem with this. The States Department usually brings USA businesses to other countries to enhance the relationship between the two. But, in the case of Russia, the Secretary of State is going to have his hands tied a bit when he attempts to melt the ice between the USA and Russia and plow through agreements that make Russia wealthy, is against the current sanctions, violates trust with Germany and enhances Russia's ability to build nukes and wage war with the USA. 

Yep. There are going to be real problems with the cabinet officers as well as the White House. Wall Street CEOs really need to be careful not to mix business with sanctions.

11. Employees shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse and corruption to appropriate authorities. 

Now that is interesting. No golden parachutes, no three martini lunches, no abuse of the helicopter or jets, no vacation time, no sightseeing tours. Strictly business. I am sure the First Lady will appropriately charm every country's public as she should.

12. Employees shall satisfy in good faith their obligations as citizens, including all just financial obligations, especially those such as Federal, State and local taxes that are imposed by law.

WOW! Huh? I think Mr. Trump has some catching up to do.

13. Employees shall adhere to all laws and regulations that provide equal opportunity to all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or handicap.

Interesting paradox. How does a White Supremacist distinguish himself as a White Supremacist without being unethical?

January 13, 2017
By Jasmine C. Lee

...“Donald Trump (click here) is rolling back the clock on diversity in the cabinet,” said Paul Light, a professor at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service....

He has more than Reagan. No matter how one views the Trump's picks though there is only one African American in HUD. Even all the women are Caucasian. I think he is in trouble all ready, right? I mean he doesn't have to hire Democrats connected with politics. I wonder if any of his CEOs are actually Democrats or if they donated to his campaign in a way that is suspicious? Hm?

If there is one president that will never unite the USA, it is Mr. Trump.

And last, but, not least...

14. Employees shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that they are violating the law or the ethical standards set forth in this part. Whether particular circumstances create an appearance that the law or these standards have been violated shall be determined from the perspective of a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts.

Interesting. Endeavor is a great word. Endeavor reflects the ability to discern right an wrong.

Merriam Webster - try hard to do or achieve something.

The USA had a space shuttle names "Endeavor." (click here)

The idea of someone reaching heights no one has before is a very good attribute of the meaning of endeavor. The word brings to mind dignity.

That is the problem with Mr. Chaffetz assaulting the Office of Government Ethics. It is a brash and idiotic action that requires apology more than anything else. One of the problems with the Trump Republicans is that they lack respect for the positions they hold. They make hideous laws and expect Americans to appreciate the abuse of power they render on a regular basis.

I was impressed with President-Elect Trump's stand to interrupt the Congressional action against the Office of Government Ethics. Now, Mr. Chaffetz is going to 'Do A Trump' and attack the same office Mr. Trump stated to leave alone.

Mr. Chaffetz is brash and outspoken, but, he is hardly a statesman. Perhaps, Mr. Trump will be more of a statesman than a bully.