Thursday, July 31, 2014

A little 'Argentino' default?

We've been hearing about an Argentina default for some months. It looks like the default may be here before the weekend, according to Reuters:
"The country's economy minister, Axel Kicillof, speaking at a news conference at the Argentine consulate in New York, repeatedly referred to the holdout hedge funds as "vultures" after two days of talks failed to produce an agreement.    
"Unfortunately, no agreement was reached and the Republic ofArgentina will imminently be in default," Daniel Pollack, the court-appointed mediator in the case, said in a statement on Wednesday evening."
Argentina's default matters for several reasons:

1) Argentina has the 4th largest GDP in Latin America after Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.  This is not a small country;

2) Argentina's political class borders on immaturity and silliness.  Calling the foreign creditors "vultures" may get some applause locally but won't encourage anyone else to invest in the country;

3) The Argentina economy is already in trouble; and,

4)  The default could impact smaller countries with debt problems. 

Hopefully, Argentina can figure out someway of avoiding default.  However, I'm not optimistic, primarily because Argentina is not run by serious people.  

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A little "narco story" brewing in US-Venezuela issues

(My new American Thinker post)

There is a lot on President Obama's plate so few people have heard about the Venezuelan general who is wanted by the US DEA.    This is from FOX News:
"Aruba's government released a former Venezuelan general who was detained on U.S. drug charges when he arrived to serve as his country's consul on the Dutch Caribbean island, sending him home Sunday night and defusing a diplomatic fight with its neighbor."
General Carbajal is back in Venezuela today   He was Chavez' head of military intelligence.  He was greeted as a hero upon his return to Caracas.
As Fausta Wertz reports, Carbajal was indicted for allegedly transporting 6 tons of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico.  My guess is much of that cocaine was destined to the US. 
Furthermore, the BBC reports that US Treasury blacklisted General Carbajal in 2008 for ties to left wing terrorists in Colombia.
ABC reports that Venezuela threatened Aruba, a small island.     
What is the US government doing about this?   Nobody knows for sure!
It seems to me that we should be quietly telling the Maduro government that we expect General Carbajal turned over to US authorities.   We should increase the volume, and economic sanctions, if the Maduro government plays games.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Not surprising that most Hispanics favor deportations

A new poll confirms what I’ve been hearing from Hispanics in Texas about the kids on the border crisis.  It turns out that Hispanics are not crazy about porous borders either, according to  a new poll from Economist/YouGov:
“Only 22% want to give the children amnesty.
A full 64% want the children deported.
Of that 64%, 28% want them deported immediately; 36% want them deported unless their home country is deemed unsafe.  
That puts Hispanics almost perfectly in line with the rest of country.”
This is not really surprising at all.  It certainly puts to rest the idea that Hispanics want open borders.
It’s one thing to favor immigration reform, and I do support a modest path to legalization for  some people who are here.  I do not support a path to citizenship.
It’s quite another thing to watch your nation’s border breached by kids or anyone else. It does not help that these kids will have to be housed, fed and schooled at the expense of over taxed taxpayers.
Hispanics are no different than other Americans.  
They want laws respected and their country’s border protected.
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Monday, July 28, 2014

A bit late but Romney beats Obama

For many of us, election night 2012 was about as depressing as life could get.   
After all, how in the world did 51% of the voters choose President Obama over Governor Romney?  I recall reading emails from friends who threaten to check out from politics.  Even a coupe of my blogger friends considered dropping politics and writing about something else. It was that depressing!
The election was actually very close election in states like Ohio, Florida, and Virginia.  Romney won more congressional districts, 222-213.
That was then and this is now.  
According to a new poll, Gov Romney would easily defeat President Obama today: 
“Americans are so down on President Obama at the moment that, if they could do the 2012 election all over again, they’d overwhelmingly back the former Massachusetts governor’s bid.
That’s just one finding in a brutal CNN poll, released Sunday, which shows Romney topping Obama in a re-election rematch by a whopping nine-point margin, 53 percent to 44 percent.
That’s an even larger spread than CNN found in November, when a survey had Romney winning a redo 49 percent to 45 percent.”  
This poll means nothing as far as 2012 is concerned.  It is just  another indication of just how toxic President Obama has become. It will also give the Romney team reasons to go for another run in 2016.
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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Don’t make Obama’s day by impeaching him

In a perfect world, we’d have a president who actually loves his country and appreciates the Constitution that he pledged to defend.   He wouldn’t be a narcissist or surrounded by “yes we can” screamers.  He would also meet with members of Congress and try to find some common ground rather than spend his time fundraising and creating “straw men.”
Unfortunately, we don’t. 
At the same time, impeachment would accomplish nothing because there are not 67 votes in the US Senate. He’d be impeached on a party-line vote in the House  It would make the Clinton impeachment look friendly in retrospect.
Therefore, all of this talk about impeachment won’t remove President Obama or make him respect the Constitution anymore.  It will, however, rally his disillusioned base and turn on the race card like we have not seen before.
His side will say that the impeachment is because he’s black.  It will divide the country and poison the well even further.  Again, it won’t remove him from office.
I agree with Rep Stockman of Texas: 

““He wants us to impeach him now,” Stockman theorized, “before the midterm election because his senior advisors believe that is the only chance the Democratic Party has to avoid a major electoral defeat.
Evidently Obama believes impeachment could motivate the Democratic Party base to come out and vote.” 

I think that’s right.
President Obama has nothing left, or nothing to run on, except getting out his base over impeachment.
The GOP should not impeach him.  Let the Supreme Court continue to stop his executive excesses.  Also, let Obama’s incompetence speak for itself, from Iraq to the border.  
President Obama is failing.   Let’s not put him back in the game by impeaching him.
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2014: "The Vikings" with Leslie Eastman & friends

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Why didn’t President Obama insist that Mexico attend the Central American summit?

Another day, another crisis and once again we yearn for leadership.
President Obama’s meeting with 3 Central American presidents is like the manager visiting the mound but the pitcher is talking with the center fielder. 
How in the world can you discuss the “kids on the border” crisis without Mexico in the room?  After all, who turned the other way when thousands of kids rode the trains or buses to the US border?
It’s incredible that President Obama didn’t say:  “No Mexico, no meeting”!
Beyond the border crisis, there are opportunities for the US to work with Central America.  I’m not talking about foreign aid but a focus on the violence crippling these small countries.
First, we should admit that the violence is primarily drug-cartel and funded by our consumption of illegal drugs.  We send billions of dollars to these small economies every time we consume illegal drugs.   President Obama should be bluntly saying that to young people and the entertainment industry.
Second, President Obama should declare a regional emergency and offer US troops to operate jointly with local armies to fight cartels.  The cartels should be hit very hard in Central America, as they’ve been hit hard in Mexico.  
Overall, another day of “hope and change” but not the leadership we need to solve problems.
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Wanted: A march calling on Hamas to stop shooting rockets at Israel

Nobody likes civilian casualties, especially not Israel.  The Israeli army is always very careful in waging a thankless urban war  where civilian casualties are inevitable.  The Israeli army is going after legitimate targets but has to walk over civilians, and children, strategically located to create headlines.
Over the last couple of days, there have been deaths in Gaza and riots:
“Israeli security forces have shot dead two Palestinians dur
ing a massive protest in the West Bank, according to medical officials.  
The victims were among an estimated 10,000 people who clashed with soldiers and border police at a checkpoint in Qalandiya, between Jerusalem and Ramallah. 
The protest came hours after 15 people were killed and more than 200 injuredwhen a UN school in the city of Beit Hanoun was hit by an artillery shell. 
At least 90 people were injured in the checkpoint clashes, with some reports that live fire was being used.   
An Israeli army spokeswoman told the AFP news agency soldiers used “riot disposal means” to control the protest.”
My anger is over the reaction, especially in so many Western cities like the riots in Paris.
What would these Parisians say if rockets were landing in their neighborhoods?
My opinion is that Israel has every right to defend itself.  They should be allowed to crush Hamas, as Michael Oren wrote.
And it is shameful that people are not marching calling on Hamas to stop shooting rockets that threaten civilians in Israel.  
The silence is shameful.  It speaks volumes about the lack of integrity in the anti-Israel movement.
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The next World Cup in Latin America should be a regional event

This is a bit of stunner, according to The NY Daily News:
“FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Brazil might have been the wrong choice as host of the 2014 World Cup if the tournament is affected by social protests like those as at the Confederations Cup last month.
Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets during the warm-up tournament in June, demanding better public services and expressing their anger over the costs to stage the World Cup.
“If this happens again we have to question whether we made the wrong decision awarding the hosting rights,” Blatter told German press agency DPA on Wednesday.”
My question is this: Should any country even try hosting another World Cup?  I mean should any Latin American country with limited resources build stadia, airports and highways to accommodate a one month event? Why force countries to choose between bus fares and fancy stadia that look good on TV but not very useful after the events?
My suggestion to FIFA is that the next Cup in Latin America should be hosted by several countries.
You could have Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santiago, Bogota, Mexico City and Miami to include the US.
They can do the same for the elimination rounds and rotate the city that will feature the final 4 tournament.
It is simply too much for one country to do a World Cup today. It requires too much money, and there are many in Brazil who wonder if it was even worth it.
So let the Cup go regional and not burden one country. Everybody will go home happier.  And it won’t make a difference to the billion people who watch it on TV anyway.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chris Cillizza excuses Obama's (and his own) failures

The failings of President Obama have a lot of media people looking for some way of explaining it all. 

After all, it's tough to look at yourself in the mirror and admit that you were one of those who did not ask the tough questions of candidate Obama back in 2008.  He wasn't ready for the presidency and everybody knew it but nobody wanted to say it!

They had Bush to blame for much of the first term.  It was easy because President Bush left with low poll ratings and the wars were unpopular.

It's getting harder and harder in year 6 of "hope and change".  

The latest defense is blaming the job, or how impossible it is to be president.  It reminds some of us of what they used to say in the Carter years.

Chris Cillizza now tells us that maybe the job is just impossible:
"Why? For lots of reasons up to and including:
* The decline of the bully pulpit as a persuasion mechanism
* The deep partisanship present not only in Congress but also in the electorate more broadly
* The splintering of the mainstream media/the rise of social media."
Mr Cillizza is correct that it is a difficult job.  Frankly, it's been a tough job for a long time.  Just ask Mr. Lincoln!

I'm surprised that Mr Cilliza cites "the decline of the bully pulpit" because Mr. Obama was supposed to be the great orator.  He was greeted everywhere by adoring crowds and a media that just couldn't stop telling us how intelligent the candidate was.

Yes, the country is divided and polarized.  However, I would argue that President Obama has contributed to that polarization.

How do you expect Americans to react when their president governs by executive decree, throws the EPA at manufacturers, pretends the IRS abuse is a “phony scandal” and then sits by as the southern border gets overrun.

Trust me...such a president will polarize the public!

Finally, Mr. Cillizza blames the splintering of the media or the rise of social media.

Well, it's true that the media is changing but that's life and President Obama could have used it to persuade the public.  He didn't!

It's always been a tough job.  President Obama's chief problem is that he was never a serious man and the job couldn't be more serious.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why shouldn’t Gov Perry put The National Guard on the border?

Governor Perry of Texas has concluded that the Obama administration is all about talking and pandering for votes.  He has correctly concluded that he must protect Texas from people crossing the border and depleting his state’s resources.
Today, Governor Perry announced that he is putting the National Guard on the border:
“The announcement comes as the Obama administration is still struggling to deal with the influx of more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors, most from Central America, who have crossed into the United States in the past year. The additional resources are not aimed at the children themselves, Perry said, describing them instead as a “force multiplier” to help the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) “combat the brutal Mexican drug cartels that are preying upon our communities.”  
“I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault and little children from Central America are detained in squalor. We are too good of a country,” Perry said. 
The troops could detain people if asked, Texas Adjutant General John Nichols said at the press conference with Perry, but they are planning to play a “referring and deterring” role by deterring cartels with their visible presence and referring any immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally to DPS.  
Perry argued that the elevated response at the border by DPS personnel has already has already acted as a deterrent force and reduced apprehensions. That operation comes at a cost of $1.3 million per week. A state memo obtained by the McAllen Monitor, which first reported Perry’s plan to deploy the National Guard, indicated the new efforts will cost the state of Texas $12 million per month.  
Perry said he expects the federal government to eventually reimburse the state of Texas for the costs it has incurred protecting the southern border.”
The left will say that Gov Perry is playing politics and there is some truth to that. Isn’t President Obama playing politics by the way he panders for Hispanic votes?
Nevertheless, most people will see Gov Perry as a man of action, playing “the commander in chief” role that President Obama refuses to play.
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Monday, July 21, 2014

President Obama looks like the guy in the office who gave his ’2 weeks notice’

With all due respect to the office of the presidency, it looks to me more and more like President Obama turned in his “two weeks notice” and is looking forward to the next job.
To be fair, there is nothing wrong with switching jobs or getting frustrated with the difficulties of your current position.  My guess is that there were times in the Bush presidency when he’d wished that Gore had won the recount or times when Carter wished that he had never narrowly beaten Ford.
However, I don’t recall President Bush, or President Carter or any other president, looking so bored, detached and just totally out of the game. What other conclusion can you come to after watching him last week? 
Even the “cultists” are not making excuses anymore!
If President Obama was a ball player the manager would bench him for being in a funk.  He might be sent down to the AAA league to get his confidence back!
Last week, a commercial plane was shot down and Israel went into Gaza.  Again, I am not expecting the US go to war over this but a little passion and interest is needed.
The world is watching as Clark S Judge wrote from London:
“The current White House doesn’t understand how US fecklessness in Syria can reverberate to Ukraine, and from there to the South China Sea, and the Americas, and Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East.   
In all this I have referred to the United States as the primary shaper of world events, which is, in fact, a misleading shorthand. The US is not a superpower so much as the biggest player in a set of super-alliances, the most critical of which is with the UK. 
Since the Second World War, when the US and Britain have been of one mind, liberal values have been secure and even advanced. When either has lost its sense of direction, neither has been nearly so effective.   
The great danger in being the anchor to the global order is that when we lose our way the general peace itself is threatened. 
This is just what we are seeing in theatre after theatre around the world. Perhaps it is time for a key ally like Prime Minister David Cameron to have a friendly talk with the President. 
It is not just American interests that a flailing White House threatens. It is that of peoples everywhere.”
Yes, it’s time for serious Democrats, and a few GOP leaders, to get together and schedule a little private visit to the Oval Office.
Some one needs to tell President Obama that the world needs a serious man committed to the job, no matter how difficult it gets.
Perhaps President Obama should considering resigning and letting another person do the job. 
It sounds crazy to write these things about a man elected and reelected.  At the same time, the US is the world’s quarterback.  Unfortunately, this QB doesn’t have his head in the game and the team is suffering.
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dear President Obama: It’s about leadership, not ‘cheeseburgers”‘

You can not make this up. However, the level of “political tone deafness” in this administration is striking.
We learned today that President Obama wants to get in touch with the American people by eating “junk food.” According to The Washington Post:
“Has food – especially junk food – played as large a role in the messaging of any other presidential administration as it has in that of President Obama? 
Obama has long complained about feeling hemmed in by the presidency, and has made a habit lately of escaping the White House by walking down the street, skipping town and meeting with regular Americans who have written him letters or have some connection to an issue he plans to discuss. The common thread in almost all of these excursions? Food or drink. And nothing fancy.  
The latest adventure came Thursday, when Obama had a burger and fries at the Charcoal Pit in Wilmington, Del., with Tanei Benjamin, who wrote Obama last year about her struggles as a single mother. Why the Charcoal Pit?  
“Biden told me the burgers are pretty good,” Obama said. Biden is, of course, from Delaware.”   
So the “political geniuses” at the White House are advising the President to go out and have a cheeseburger with John Doe?  Maybe he will relate better to John Doe by sharing a beer and onion rings?
Again, this is incredible.
Frankly, I don’t care whether our president eats cheeseburgers or meat loaf prepared by a chef.   It matters little to me.  It does matter to me that we have a president who understands that John Doe is overtaxed, over regulated, concerned about our foreign policy and horrified that our borders don’t mean anything anymore.
So here is a note to the political advisers: Fix the border because most of us don’t really care what the president eats!  
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Friday, July 18, 2014

All of this “fundraising” is really getting old

(My new American Thinker post)

We know two things for sure about President Obama’s foreign policy.
First, the world is a mess. It reminds you of that school teacher who lost control of her class. I remember a case like that in 7th grade and it was not a suitable place for learning.
From the Gaza to Iraq, we’ve got problems that no one would have imagined a couple of years ago.
The latest international mess is a commercial aircraft shot and 300 people killed. There were 23 US nationals on that flight and President Obama needs to address the nation from The Oval Office like President Reagan back in 1983, or when the old USSR shot down a Korean Aircraft.
No one should get away with blowing up a commercial aircraft without consequences. I hope that they are presenting President Obama with some meaningful options. The US public needs to hear something very serious from their president.
“President Barack Obama provoked fury in the U.S. on Thursday by casually devoting less than a minute to the deaths of 295 people aboard a Malaysian airliner, as he began an often jokey 16-minute speech about the need to expand America’s transportation infrastructure.”
President Obama needs to get in the game or resign and let someone else do the job. We just don’t have room for this kind of a president at a time when everything is falling apart or going to heck.
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

‘The Russians are coming’ to Cuba

Let’s not blow out of proportion that President Putin is in Cuba.   It’s more of a finger in the eye to President Obama than a return to the days when Soviet troops were stationed in Cuba.
However, Cuba and Russia did agree on one thing, as reported by The New York Times:
Russia has decided to reopen an electronic eavesdropping post in Cuba that it closed more than a decade ago, reaching out for a onetime symbol of its global superpower status, Russian officials and newspaper reports said on Wednesday.
President Vladimir V. Putin agreed with Cuba’s leader, Raúl Castro, during a visit to Cuba last week to reopen the post. In exchange, Mr. Putin agreed to forgive about 90 percent of Cuba’s Soviet-era debt to Russia, or about $32 billion. News of the debt relief emerged last week, but the agreement to reopen the listening post was first reported Wednesday by the Russian newspaper Kommersant.
Let’s understand what this is.   Putin has been emboldened by Obama’s weakness and he is just showing it, 90 miles from Florida.  He is also going around Latin America projecting power and doing it because he senses that the US has walked out of the region.
It doesn’t change the military balance.  It’s just bad optics for a President Obama who doesn’t need more of it.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

We need more men like Derek Jeter in this world

In 1996, Derek Jeter broke in with the Yankees.  I started to coach our 3 boys in the local Little League the same year.  
Over the next ten years, I coached kids and Derek Jeter won baseball titles.  He won 5 of them. He will retire with 3,500 hits, a .311 lifetime average and .321 in 38 World Series games.
It didn’t take long before every kid in our Little League wanted to wear #2 or imitate Jeter’s batting stance.  Every kid also wanted to go in the hole and make that patented Jeter jump and throw to first base. Suddenly every kid wanted to play shortstop and drive the ball to the opposite field, another Jeter speciality.
He was the top dog on the biggest team in baseball.
As a dad, I was happy that my sons idolized Jeter.   He was exactly the kind of professional athlete that you’d want your kid to idolize. 
Jeter understood something that most professionals don’t:  You are a role model whether you like it or not!   In other words, kids will look up to you and do what you do.
On Tuesday night, the baseball world said goodbye to Jeter in Minneapolis.   He got everything that he deserved.   I was applauding him too because the world could use more men like Jeter.
The Yankees will come to Texas in August and I will be there to watch Jeter again.  He is really something special, the kind of professional athlete who comes around once in a generation. 
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