Friday, December 09, 2016

A chat with Joao Chequeira about his books and the situation in Europe


A chat with Joao Chequeira about his books and the situation in Europe 12/09 by Silvio Canto Jr | News Podcasts:

Guest: Joao Cerqueira, author and professor in Portugal.......we discussed his latest Trump in Europe........the immigration crisis in Europe......and recent elections in Italy and Austria......and other stories of the week.................

Tags: Italy and elections, Trump and Europe, immigration and Europe To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the My View by Silvio Canto, Jr. Thanks!

Happy # 100 Kirk Douglas

How often can we say happy # 100 to anyone?    Well, we do that today.   We say happy # 100 to Kirk Douglas, one of the most popular actors of the 20th century.

He was born Ssur Danielovitch to Russian-Jewish parents in New York.   

Some of his other acting roles were in “Ace in the Hole” (1951), “The Bad and the Beautiful” (1952), “Act of Love” (1953), “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (1954) and “Spartacus” (1960).

Let's put his life in some perspective.   He was born during World War I and made his first movie when President Truman was in The White House.    

He was a great actor.  We wish him a happy # 100.

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Is it happy #23 for NAFTA?

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law December 8, 1993 by President Clinton.  
It virtually eliminated all tariffs and trade restrictions between Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. It passed because President Clinton got the GOP to finish the agreement President Bush had started. It also passed because it was an agreement rather than a treaty, i.e. no 67 votes!
23 years later and NAFTA is good and bad. It depends on who you ask.   
My sense is that most business people like it on both sides of the border. That’s what I hear!
At the same time, workers are not fond of it, here and south of the border. I hear that too!
President-elect Trump called it a terrible agreement. Frankly, a lot of people in Mexico agree with him, specially the small businesses that have been overwhelmed by the large U.S. chain stores or restaurants.
I remember living in Mexico in the 1980s and seeing a lot of homemade products made by artisans or small businesses. Today, a large metropolitan area in Mexico looks like one in the U.S., i.e. McDonalds, Office Depot, and Walmart.
So where are we 23 years later?
Marilyn Geewax made this point a while back:
Over the years, polls have suggested most Americans don’t much like NAFTA, and unions remain sharply critical. But economists generally say Clinton’s prediction came closer to hitting the mark than Perot’s.
“I’d say NAFTA was an overwhelming success,” said Sara Johnson, an economist with IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm. “There are strong, two-way trade flows now.”
Since NAFTA took effect, trade among the three countries has more than tripled. And while millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs have melted away over the last two decades, economists attribute most of those losses to new technologies and Asian competition, not NAFTA.
In fact, if not for NAFTA, even more jobs would have disappeared from this continent, Johnson argues. “Better to have jobs in Mexico than China” because Mexicans buy more of our services and goods, she said.
Still, NAFTA has failed to deliver as many benefits as its most ardent supporters had expected, leaving the trade agreement with a relatively muted impact, according the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.
“NAFTA did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics or the large economic gains predicted by supporters. The net overall effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy appears to have been relatively modest,” CRS concluded.
Still, it may be too soon to accurately assess the full impact of NAFTA. The deal’s real legacy may emerge in coming years as more trade pacts get written and take effect. For good or ill, NAFTA has become a guide for shaping how countries conduct business with each other in the 21st century.
Down in Mexico, Ian Grillo reminds us that it’s NAFTA, not the wall, that has a lot of Mexicans talking:
Nafta is not, however, universally beloved in Mexico, and the presidential candidates’ anti-trade talk has reignited criticism of the treaty, with some opponents claiming, among other things, that it devastates Mexican agriculture by flooding the country with cheap American corn. In August, tens of thousands of small farmers gathered in Mexico City with demands that included the redrafting of Nafta — a move that Mexico’s economy secretary, Ildefonso Guajardo, has warned could open a “Pandora’s box.” Indeed, the prospect of a revised Nafta has pundits weighing in with calls to put everything from energy to immigration into a new draft.
My sense is that a review of NAFTA would serve Mexico, Canada and the U.S. rather well. In other words, it would allow each country to air out some grievances.    
At the same time, we may realize that corporate tax reform and a more sensible regulatory environment will provide the biggest benefits for manufacturing rather than discrading NAFTA.    
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.   We discussed NAFTA plus 23 on Thursday's show:

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The day that Frank Robinson became an Oriole!

Before free agency and big contracts, major league teams used to make trades, big trades.  One of the biggest happened today in 1965:

"On this day in 1965, the Cincinnati Reds trade outfielder Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles, in exchange for the pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun and the outfielder Dick Simpson."

Frank joined Brooks Robinson and the Orioles became the best team in the AL.  They played in 4 World Series, winning in 1966 and 1970.  They lost to the Mets in '69 and Pirates in '71.

The Reds thought that Frank Robinson was "old" but he proved them wrong in Baltimore.  He won the Triple Crown in 1966 and MVP that year.

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We remember Nando Parrado who survived a plane crash in 1972

Nando Parrado was born Montevideo, Uruguay, on this day in 1947.     

In 1972, Nando was one of the passengers on a flight that crashed in The Andes.   He was travelling with a rugby team on the way to a tournament.

Nando survived and the story became a book as well as a movie.     You can get the movie HERE.

It's an amazing story!

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December 9, 1980: John Lennon, the morning after

25 years ago, I woke up to the news that John Lennon was killed overnight in New York.  Millions heard the news during the Monday Night Football game.  I went to bed early in the 4th quarter and missed it.

By '80, Lennon's career was at a crossroads. He had just released "Starting Over", a catchy new single from the upcoming "Double Fantasy" LP.

I remember buying the single and feeling good that Lennon was finally over the political stuff from the early 1970s.  Between "Imagine" and "Starting Over", Lennon and Yoko flirted with a lot of crazy stuff.  It turned me off and I did not buy any Lennon music for much of the 70s.

So many years has flown by. It seems only yesterday that I was cheering Reagan's 1980 landslide and Lennon's new music.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

John Lennon 1940-80

It's hard to believe but John Lennon was killed on this day in 1980:    
"Former Beatle John Lennon is shot and killed by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980.
For those who were listening to the radio on the evening of December 8, 1980, the news was probably broken by a disc jockey reading from the sketchy initial bulletin that came over the Associated Press newswire shortly after 11:25 p.m., Eastern Standard Time: "There's a report that John Lennon has been shot. It happened in New York. On the Upper West Side." In fact, Lennon had been declared dead some 10 minutes earlier in the emergency room of a Manhattan hospital—news that millions of Americans would receive, jarringly, from Monday Night Football announcer Howard Cosell, breaking into the regular commentary on that evening's contest between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots: "An unspeakable tragedy, confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City...shot twice in the back, rushed to the Roosevelt Hospital, dead on arrival."
Yes, it was a shocking act, as Howard Cosell said on TV:

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Cuba after Fidel, NAFTA is 23 plus other stories from Latin America

Tags: NAFTA is 23, Brazil corruption, Colombia and peace agreements, Cuba after Fidel To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the My View by Silvio Canto, Jr. Thanks!

We remember John Glenn (1921-2016)

We just heard that John Glenn died at 95.    He was one of the great heroes of the space program that put a man on the moon in 1969.

After NASA, he became a US Senator from Ohio and served with honor and distinction.  

RIP and thank you for your service and a memorable life.

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A town named Hershey in pre‐Castro Cuba

As Cuba moves away from Fidel to whatever happens next, we were recently reminded of a pre-Castro town that confirmed just how close the U.S. and the island used to be.    
The town is Hershey, Cuba:
The town dates to 1916, when Milton S. Hershey, the American chocolate baron, visited Cuba for the first time and decided to buy sugar plantations and mills on the island to supply his growing chocolate empire in Pennsylvania. On land east of Havana, he built a large sugar refinery and an adjoining village — a model town like his creation in Hershey, Pa. — to house his workers and their families.
He named the place Hershey.
The village would come to include about 160 homes — the most elegant made of stone, the more modest of wooden planks — built along a grid of streets and each with tidy yards and front porches in the style common in the growing suburbs of the United States. It also had a public school, a medical clinic, shops, a movie theater, a golf course, social clubs and a baseball stadium where a Hershey-sponsored team played its home games, residents said.
The factory became one of the most productive sugar refineries in the country, if not in all of Latin America, and the village was the envy of surrounding towns, which lacked the standard of living that Mr. Hershey bestowed on his namesake settlement.
This town was unique, but there were in fact U.S. employers in pre-Castro Cuba who took very good care of their employees.
For example, my uncle was a draftsman for a U.S. company that operated in his town. He came out of school and was hired by the company. He worked there for almost 10 years until this plant was expropriated in the early 1960s. I don’t know whatever happened to my uncle’s employer but he clearly got a raw deal from the communists. After all, all he ever did in Cuba was to obey the law, pay taxes, and create jobs.
Mr. Hershey died in 1948 and the town became another sugar refinery community in Cuba. It was actually a very profitable and efficient sugar refinery.    
Overall, the communists confiscated many other U.S. investments. Sadly, the Obama administration did not demand a solution from Cuba and left many U.S. citizens hanging around wondering about the money that was stolen from them.    
It is estimated that these investments are valued at $7 billion in today’s dollars:
What’s often forgotten, though, is that the embargo was actually triggered by something concrete: an enormous pile of American assets that Castro seized in the process of nationalizing the Cuban economy. Some of these assets were the vacation homes and bank accounts of wealthy individuals. But the lion’s share of the confiscated property — originally valued at $1.8 billion, which at 6 percent simple interest translates to nearly $7 billion today — was sugar factories, mines, oil refineries, and other business operations belonging to American corporations, among them the Coca-Cola Co., Exxon, and the First National Bank of Boston. A 2009 article in the Inter-American Law Review described Castro’s nationalization of US assets as the “largest uncompensated taking of American property by a foreign government in history.”
Today, the nearly 6,000 property claims filed in the wake of the Cuban revolution almost never come up as a significant sticking point in discussions of a prospective Cuban-American thaw. But they remain active — and more to the point, the federal law that lays out the conditions of a possible reconciliation with Cuba, the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, says they have to be resolved. According to that statute, said Michael Kelly, a professor of international law at Creighton University in Nebraska, settling the certified property claims “is one of the first dominos that has to fall in a whole series of dominos for the embargo to be lifted.”
We will wait longer to see how these investors will be compensated. It should be one of the issues that demands immediate attention from whatever the new Trump approach is for Cuba. It did not get proper attention from the Obama administration.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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December 8, 1941: The last time a president went to Congress for a declaration of war

(My new American Thinker post)

We've been in 5 major wars since World War II:  Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Afghanistan & Iraq. The casualties are over 110,000 and many more wounded.

What do they have in common?  No formal declaration of war! 

To be fair, President Bush-41 & President Bush-43 did go to Congress for a resolution authorizing military force. (I'm sure all of you remember all of those Democrats reminding us that Saddam had WMDs and had to be removed)

I guess that a resolution is better than nothing, although The Tonkin Gulf Resolution was really a stretch.  I don't think that a single member of Congress thought that President Johnson would use that resolution to escalate the war and send 500,000 troops to Vietnam.

President Truman sent troops to Korea under a UN Security Council resolution.

Not surprisingly, Korea and Vietnam became very unpopular wars because Congress was never really engaged. 

Incredibly, most Americans were not around the last time that a president went to Congress and got a war declaration:

"On this day in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt asks Congress to declare war on Japan in perhaps the most memorable speech of his career. The speech, in which he called Japan's act a "deliberate deception," received thunderous applause from Congress and, soon after, the United States officially entered the Second World War.   
The day before, Japanese pilots had bombed the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, decimating the majority of U.S. warships in the Pacific Fleet along with most of the Air Corps and Navy aircraft stationed on the island of Oahu. The bombing raids killed 2,403 people, including 68 civilians, and wounded almost 1,200."

The Founding Fathers understood that an executive with unlimited war powers would likely involve the country in wars. Beyond that, the executive is always stronger when he has the Congress behind him, especially when things go wrong as they always do when the shooting starts.

Let's get back to the Constitution and demand that presidents go to Congress.

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.    We discussed Pearl Harbor 1941 with Barry Jacobsen:

Tags: World War II and Pres FDR  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the My View by Silvio Canto, Jr. Thanks!



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