Filed under: Capitalism, Communism, Cuba, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Latin America | Tags: Free Markets / Free People, No Change in Communism, Raul Castro: "We Won!"
President Raúl Castro, Fidel’s little brother, declared victory for the Cuban Revolution in a televised speech before Parliament and a group of favored guests —including Elián Gonzales (remember him?) — reaffirming that any restored relations with the United States did not mean any change in Communist rule in Cuba. He added “We won the war.”
Obama didn’t check in with any of the Cuban community here or with the Cubans who are fighting for freedom in Cuba. They are pretty unanimous in saying that the way Obama has gone about this is a major mistake. The Ladies in White who march in support of political prisoners each week in a major display of courage, said “betrayal” and didn’t understand why Obama had gone back on his statement that “significant steps toward democracy” must precede any liberalization.
As usual, Obama does not learn from history. Engagement does not necessarily promote freedom — see China, Vietnam, and increasingly less freedom in those countries.
In an official announcement in the state newspaper Gramma. government officials announced a system in which employees of corporations with foreign capital will be paid two Cuban Pesos for every Convertible Cuban Peso (CUP) which are used exclusively for tourists and is the equivalent of an American dollar and 26.5 Cuban Pesos. The 24 Cuban Pesos that workers will NOT receive amount to 92% of their salaries. So 92% of the value of Cubans’ work will go to prop up the Communist state. How that is supposed to be an important entry in the history books for Mr. Obama is not clear.
Cuba’s major benefactors —Russia and Venezuela — are in deep trouble from the declining price of oil. The current price is far below their ‘break-even’ point. Some Conservatives welcome the change in policy, believing that free trade will make great changes in Cuba. Raúl Castro doesn’t think so. “Once they see better goods and services” they say, but at roughly 67¢ a day in income Cubans cannot buy “better goods.” I don’t know what they have to trade. Reportedly, even their cigars aren’t that good any more.
Will Cuba suddenly allow their people to travel to the U.S.? Not likely. Any visitors to the U.S would be likely to seek asylum. The Cuban Adjustment Act says that any Cuban who is granted parole into the U.S. may, after one year apply for adjustment to permanent resident status. In the past every Cuban who made it here got parole and a green card.
I firmly believe in free markets and free people — but the “free” part seems to be completely missing here.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Europe, Iran, Iraq, Latin America, Middle East, National Security, The United States | Tags: Disastrous for Our Enemies, Lower Prices Are Good for Us, The Price of Crude Oil
The price of crude oil is tumbling downward towards $80 per barrel. The Brent crude price of $82.60 is the cheapest since 2010.”On October 1, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company announced that it had abandoned a policy of price protection and would start to focus on protecting its market share. Combined with falling global demand and rising supplies elsewhere, oil prices have fallen accordingly.
Natural gas supplies are plentiful and warm weather so far means weak demand, which means lower costs for natural gas.
For our fracking, the break-even price is around $50-$70 bbl. Supply is bulging. Gasoline prices will come down, transportation prices will come down, which means that costs at the grocery store will ease.
States like Iran, Venezuela, and Iraq can only balance their budgets at oil prices ranging from $110 to $135 per barrel. This is good. If oil prices stay below $90 per barrel for any length of time, there will be real financial squeezes, and even regime change in Iran, Bahrain, Ecuador, Venezuela, Algeria, Nigeria, Iraq or Libya and would give Vladimir Putin some real trouble. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.
It’s not clear what Saudi Arabia is up to, but they are definitely not approving of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, nor of ISIS’ ambitions either. They may be just protecting their market share, as we are close to surpassing them in production.
If we start exporting natural gas to Europe, that would relax the strangle hold Russia holds over their energy supplies.
It’s good news, just when we need some.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Election 2014, Health Care, Immigration, Latin America, Politics, The United States | Tags: Administration Secrecy, Center for Disease Control, The Public Health Response
It’s gone this far. The Wall Street Journal today:
Frantic to hold the Senate, Democrats are now claiming Republicans are pro-Ebola—really. Anything is better than having to defend White House competence or even the adequacy of the public-health response, though this election debate would benefit from a fact or two.
Well, yes. Straight talk would be helpful. But it took ten months after Ebola broke out for the administration to start “working on protocols.” The first case of the new Ebola strain broke out on Dec. 28, 2012. We have had one death from Ebola of a patient who came here directly from Liberia.
At least five children infected with the respiratory illness known as enterovirus D68 have died in the U.S. in the past month. The latest confirmed victim was a four-year-old New Jersey boy, Eli Waller. He died at home on September 25. Health officials have no idea how he contracted the virus.
The CDC reports that in from mid-August to October 9, 2014, at least 678 people in 46 states and the District of Columbia have lab-confirmed enterovirus D68. Most are children and some have developed into paralysis, though it is unclear what is paralysis and what is only muscle weakness. The numbers indicate only that at least one case has been confirmed in each state, not how many.
The numbers of EV-D68 infections is probably much higher than reported, since health officials are not testing every suspected case.
Enteroviruses commonly circulate in the summer and fall, and EV-D68 was first identified in California in 1962. I would guess there is a jump in cases when school starts, as every mom knows that kids bring every virus home from school. But over the past thirty years only small numbers of cases were reported in the U.S.
Because it has been reported that there were many cases of illness and disease among the numbers of accompanied and unaccompanied children among the influx of illegals, it has been suspected that to be the source of the uptick in numbers of cases. The administration clamped down on reports of illness among the illegals, and has kept secret the locations of illegal immigrant children who have reportedly been sent to every state in the union. There are significant numbers of them in the cities where the current outbreak was first identified, Kansas City, Missouri and Chicago, Illinois according to locals and press reports.
EV-D68 has been found, according to a study published in Virology Journal, among some of the 3,375 young, ill people tested in eight Latin American countries including El Salvador and Nicaragua in 2013.
The origin of the outbreak may be entirely unrelated.
There are no available vaccines, antiviral medications or specific treatments for EV-D68. Most cases are mild with flu-like symptoms. We are currently in the middle of the enterovirus season. Children with asthma may be more susceptible. The good news is that enteroviruses are usually not deadly.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Immigration, Latin America, Liberalism, National Security, Politics | Tags: Media Irresponsibility, Tell the Truth About It, The Economy Isn't Growing
The Labor Department reported on Friday that the economy had gained 209,000 jobs in July. That doesn’t keep up with the birthrate. Economists had predicted a gain of 230,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 6.1%, so 6.2% was a disappointing jobs number. Not good. Average hourly earnings increased by a yearly gain of a precise 0.2¢, but wage growth has been stagnant for most of the, um, economic recovery. It’s a weak economy, stumbling along in near-stall speed. President Obama proved once again in his weekly address that he remains remarkably clueless.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: This morning we learned that our economy created over 200,000 new jobs in July. That’s on top of about 300,000 new jobs in June. So we are now in a six-month streak with at least 200,000 new jobs each month. That’s the first time that has happened since 1997. Over the past year, we’ve added more jobs than any year since 2006. All told, our businesses have created 9.9 million new jobs over the past 53 units. That’s the longest streak of private sector job creation in our history.
As we saw on Wednesday, the economy grew at a strong pace in the spring. Companies are investing, consumers are spending and American manufacturing, energy, technology, autos all are booming. And thanks to the decisions that we’ve made and the resilience of the American people, we’ve recovered faster and come farther from the recession than almost any other advanced country on earth. So the good news is the economy clearly is getting stronger, things are getting better, engines are revving a little bit louder.
Well, no it isn’t, things aren’t getting better, and the engines are stalled. Democrats have become the party of economic control. If things aren’t going well, it’ because we need more rules. If something is not working Obama will fix it with his pen and his phone. Nobody knows what comes next. We’re told ObamaCare premiums are about to skyrocket—precisely how much? Who knows? The IRS is crooked. The EPA may descend on you for disobeying an order you never heard of. They just descended on a woman in South Carolina and confiscated her elderly Range Rover — she has no idea why. The president and the press lie to us. I think everyone has the feeling that government departments may be told to misrepresent their numbers, but I don’t know that to be the case, I’ve just lost several degrees of trust.
The press continues to describe the influx of illegal alien young people, OTM (other than Mexican), mothers with small children, Muslims, Chinese, Mara-Salvatucha gang members, as little children who are fleeing violence and poverty in their country. No, they are not. The kids have been questioned and they are not fleeing violence, they are coming in response to Obama’s offer of amnesty. 80%, according to Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) are young men 16 and 17 years of age. Now we learn that planeloads of them have been sent to Hawaii and Alaska. The airline tickets back home to Central America would be cheaper.
ADDENDUM:From the Hill: “The Real unemployment rate is at least 18 percent.”
Employers can, intentionally or unintentionally, abuse the H-1B visa program, which permit businesses to employ foreign workers when qualified Americans are unavailable. Americans may be overlooked, because they demand higher wages, or are not networked with immigrants that are already employed in technical and managerial positions.
The economy has created only about 6 million new jobs during the Bush-Obama years, whereas the comparable figure during the Reagan-Clinton period was about 40 million. A recent study by the Center for Immigration Studies indicates that virtually all the new jobs created since 2000 went to immigrants, whereas none were created for native-born Americans.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Immigration, Latin America, Liberalism, Media Bias, Mexico, Politics, Progressivism
Remember how this all started? Breitbart broke the story of something like 50 thousand unaccompanied children escaping the violence at home arrived illegally at our borders. It was a way to pressure the GOP into caving in on amnesty. Stories of Border Patrol agents changing diapers, mothers with toddlers, always emphasis on the “children.” We must have compassion for the little children. Well, as the news spread, it became clear that the media, as usual, were either lying to us or ill-informed themselves. Take your pick. 47% of the illegals were young men of age 11-18. A significant number were recruiters for Mara-Salvatrucha, the violent street gang of young men also, coincidentally, age 11-18.
The amnesty idea caved in among the public pretty rapidly. A new poll from Economist/YouGov makes it pretty clear that the plan has backfired badly. Only 11% of the people want what Obama, the Democrats and the media want, which is amnesty for everyone. 77 percent of Americans want the kids sent back home. A full 43 percent want them deported immediately, regardless of what’s happening in their home countries. Another 35 percent want them sent back unless their home country is unsafe.
Further information from questioning the kids has demonstrated that they are NOT escaping violence at home, but are here because of Obama’s promises of amnesty. They were told in their home countries that if they got here they could get in and be cared for. Many were sent with an address or phone number of relatives in the U.S. Many were sent with smugglers. Neither the Border Patrol nor ICE are checking the people to whom the kids have been delivered, not the citizenship, address, nor their relation. The same people have turned up to accept several different children. They are told to turn up for a deportation hearing, but statistically only 20 percent ever do. The rest disappear in the population.
It turns out that Hispanics aren’t all that different from the rest of Americans. Only 22 percent want to give the children amnesty, and a full 64 percent want the children deported. Of that 64 percent, 28 percent want them deported immediately, 36 percent want them deported unless their home country is considered unsafe. But I thought all the Hispanics were demonstrating, demanding amnesty for all. Mostly, they’re right in line with the rest of the country.
The media apparently decided to ignore the problem in favor of concentrating on Israel and Hamas. But 81 percent of the American people believe the jump in illegal immigration is a very serious problem. 57 percent believe that the increasing numbers of illegals is due to the belief that the American government will grant the children amnesty. Only 29 percent believe it was due to increased violence in Central America.
Obama seems remarkably uninterested in the problem, which is interfering with his fundraising and golf. He seems indignant that Republicans are not going along with his ideas about amnesty and determined to pay them back for not letting him have his way. Stubborn petulance would seem to describe it. He is the President of the United States and he expects deference and cooperation, because — he is the most important man in the free world. That doesn’t seem to comport with the idea that America should just be one nation among many, does it.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Energy, Foreign Policy, Immigration, Intelligence, Iraq, Islam, Israel, Latin America, National Security, Politics | Tags: A World in Flames, The Administration Knew, The Islamic State
Weren’t we told by the administration that they were blindsided by the rapid advance by ISIS last month when Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city fell to this new jihadi army that seemed to come out of nowhere? They not only captured Mosul, but five divisions of the Iraqi army fell and we heard of mass executions, beheadings, crucifixions, and terrified residents fled before the onslaught as the long column headed towards Baghdad.
The administration, according to the record was not surprised at all. Congressional testimony as far back as November made it cleat that the United States had been closely tracking the black-clad jihadis, a ruthless al Qaeda spinoff. Intelligence officials had been closely tracking the group since 2012.
According to McClatchy, Obama administration officials were quite aware of the group’s intention to send men and material back into Iraq and turn loose waves of suicide bombers, which they knew that Iraqi security forces could not handle. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk told a House committee in February that the campaign had the stated objective of carving out a Caliphate in the western regions of Iraq and Syria.
So — if the Obama administration had all that advance warning why are they still trying to figure out what steps, if any, they should take to stop their advance? With all the pictures of the long ISIS column strung out on the road to Baghdad, it looked like a pretty vulnerable target, but I’ve probably read too many thrillers.
They’ve seized all sorts of Iraqi military equipment, drained banks of their assets, seized oil and natural gas fields, military outposts. Nearly every day we hear about another town that has fallen or another outrage they have committed.
What started as a crisis in Syria has become a regional disaster with serious global implications,” Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Wednesday.
Yet Defense Department officials say they might not complete work on proposed options for U.S. actions until the middle of August, a lifetime in a region where every day brings word of another town or village falling to the Islamic State. Some lawmakers and experts say the delay borders on diplomatic malpractice.
Chairman Royce said Iraqi officials and diplomats at our embassy began urging drone strikes as early as August last year against Islamic State bases near the Syrian border.
This was a very clear case in which the U.S. knew what was going on but followed a policy of deliberate neglect,” said Vali Nasr, the dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former State Department adviser on the Middle East.
“This miscalculation essentially has helped realize the worst nightmare for this administration, an administration that prided itself on its counterterrorism strategy,” said Nasr. “It is now presiding over the resurgence of a nightmare of extremism and terrorism.”
The article from the Merced Sun Star is long and, frankly, depressing. Dithering, indecision, Obama believes one of his greatest accomplishments is ending the war in Iraq, he can’t undo that. Drawing red lines in Syria, misunderstanding the Middle East. Obama came to office believing that the key to the problems of the Middle East was Israeli intransigence. If he could broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, then the problems of the Middle East would end. That’s why Kerry has been over there wearing out his welcome, pushing absurd agreements. Obama seems to have learned about the Middle East from his friend Rashid Khalidi, the firebrand Palestinian professor.
Matt Lewis of The Daily Caller has a column in Britain’s Telegraph today, suggesting that “Barack Obama has already checked out of his job,” in which he suggests that Obama is “no longer even worried about keeping up appearances, he doesn’t care enough to fake it.”
The United States has apparently not yet delivered the helicopter gunships and F-16 jet fighters that Iraq has already purchased. The administration has also dragged its feet on Baghdad’s request for U.S. military advisers, though 300 were dispatched after Mosul fell. Obama doesn’t seem to get along with Maliki. George W. Bush had weekly video conferences with him.
Gaza’s charter says they will eliminate Israel and take over the land. That’s fairly clear and straightforward. The Islamic State says they have established a new Caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and then…? Putin is still busily working to take over the Ukraine, al Qaeda is threatening a cyber attack on the United States. We have thousands of children, (mostly between the ages of 14 and 17) who are being recruited by MS-17. Obama says he wants to send them back home, but he is settling them in all over the country, and schools will be expected to take the kids. The border is wide open because Border Patrol people have been called away to deal with the ‘unaccompanied children’, and security officials are worried. More businesses are moving their corporate offices overseas to escape taxes, and Obama can’t think of anything to do but punish them. Cutting taxes is not in his vocabulary.
What’s the old saying? Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies.