Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Supreme Court should punt on Same‐sex Marriage

(My new American Thinker post)

We understand that The Supreme Court will make a decision in a few months regarding same-sex marriage.  

In fact, Justice Ginsberg recently said that the country is ready for "gay marriage". I guess we know how she is going to vote! It's a bit like the home plate umpire saying that the country is ready for the home team to win the World Series.

Let's hope that five justices will not give us the "same-sex marriage version of Roe v. Wade". It will be awful and divide the country even more than we are divided now. A same-sex marriage decision based on five justices finding a justification in the 14th amendment will not settle the issue. Such a decision will poison future nominations to the Supreme Court, in much the same way that Roe v. Wade has!

I agree with Heather Wilhelm:
In June, as USA Today recently put it, the United States Supreme Court “will resolve the national debate over same-sex marriage once and for all.”
That’s a pretty big mandate for nine unelected, intelligent-yet-flawed human beings...
Yes, it is. This is a lot to ask of an institution that was not created to resolve issues like these.

So let me send this idea to the justices and let's hope that five will adopt it. I think that Thomas, Alito, and Scalia are with me. I'm confident about Roberts but Kennedy worries me a bit. I will assume that the four Democrat appointments can't wait to put their names on a decision that creates what they call "marriage equality".

The Court should write an opinion like this, with all of the "legal language" that goes with it:

Dear Citizens,
You are asking us to opine on an issue that is not in the U.S. Constitution.  
You want us to find a definition of marriage but we don't find the word or anything in the historical writings that the Founding Fathers intended us to settle issues of that nature. We do see over and over that the Founding Fathers wanted these issues to be settled by voters, as it is pointed out in the 10th Amendment.
Therefore, 5 of us have a simple admission to make:  We don't have a clue about the definition of marriage. Yes, we don't know. Did you think that we're supposed to know everything just because we wear this robe?
The institution of marriage has been around longer than the U.S. and has always been a "state matter" in our nation's history.   

Don't expect us to make the tough call that your politicians don't want to make. You settle it and keep us out of it.Furthermore, we want you the people to decide it. Argue and scream at each other in your state legislatures. Force your elected officials to vote "yes or no" on changing marriage.  

Maybe I'm expecting too much. Nevertheless, it'd be nice to know that five Justices in the Supreme Court actually understand what their constitutional role is.

P.S. You can hear my show (CantoTalk) or follow me on Twitter.  We discussed this topic on Saturday's show:

Tags: Internet freedom, Same sex marriage & judges  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the My View by Silvio Canto, Jr. Thanks!

"Communism 2.0", a new book by Ileana Johnson, economist and author

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Friday, February 27, 2015

'President Rodriguez' on the way to the White House?

(My new American Thinker post)

For the record, I did not watch the Telemundo interview with President Obama.  Nevertheless, I did read that President Obama said this:
America’s changing population should and will change American politics, President Barack Obama told a Spanish-speaking audience Wednesday.
“At some point there’s going to be a President Rodriguez, or there’s going to be a President Chin. The country is a nation of immigrants, and ultimately, it will reflect who we are, and its politics will reflect who we are,” Obama said during the MSNBC/Telemundo interview, held at Florida International University, in Miami.
Frankly, a President Rubio or President Cruz would be welcomed in my home, but a "President Rodriguez" would be historic indeed.

My hope is that a future "President Rodriguez" would show more respect for the U.S. Constitution than the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Let's start with the immigration order (or memo?) that just recently ran into a constitutional challenge from a federal judge in Texas.  Yes, I mean the same "order" or "memo" that President Obama spent five years saying that he did not have the authority to issue.   

Talk about magic.  It was impossible before the election, and then suddenly it was possible after the election.  

We have a word in Spanish for that.  It's not magic (or "magia").  It is "mala fe," or "bad faith."

Second, we just learned today that President Obama will write another "order" (or maybe it will be a memo again) to impose what Senate Democrat majorities could never vote "yes" on:
As promised, President Obama is using executive actions to impose gun control on the nation, targeting the top-selling rifle in the country, the AR-15 style semi-automatic, with a ban on one of the most-used AR bullets by sportsmen and target shooters.
I have never seen this kind of executive overreach before.  This is truly dangerous.  

We are watching a president who wants to do by decree what the Congress will not pass.  That's not the U.S.  That's Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, etc.

Yes, let's hope that a "President Rodriguez" walks into The Oval Office someday soon.  Let's further hope that he does two things that President Obama has not:

1) Sits down and looks to work with the opposition.  It's amazing what can happen when the president is not afraid of working with the other party.

2) Respects the document that he took an oath to defend.

P.S. You can hear my show (CantoTalkor follow me on Twitter.

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The latest from Venezuela with Comandante Cazorla

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why should Raúl Castro stop arresting dissidents?

As Rep. Pelosi enjoys a cup of coffee in Cuba, the Castro government arrested 200 dissidents recalling the death of Mr. Zapata, who died 5 years ago.

Mr. Zapata, an Afro-Cuban, was a major dissident who died in a hunger strike in 2010, as recalled by the U.S. State Department:
On Tuesday, February 23, 2010, prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo died following an eleven-week hunger strike. We are deeply saddened to learn of his death, and the U.S. Government extends its heartfelt sympathies to his family, friends, and supporters. 
Zapata was arrested in 2003 on charges of “contempt for authority.” While in Havana last week, the U.S. delegation for Migration Talks raised Zapata’s incarceration and poor health with Cuban officials and urged them to provide all necessary medical care. 
Mr. Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s death highlights the injustice of Cuba's holding more than 200 political prisoners who should now be released without delay[.]

One of the dissidents arrested this week was Berta Soler of "The Ladies in White," a group of women who march every week demanding the release of their husbands, brothers, and sons.

The Obama administration has expressed concern, but it's going to take a lot more than that to stop the Castro regime.  

Unfortunately, the Obama administration broke with previous U.S. presidents who connected the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with changes in the human right record on the island.  Furthermore, the Obama administration punted on every issue and appears in a hurry to do a deal with Cuba and Iran.

We are living in strange times.  Secretary Clinton measures her success by the number of miles that she flew.  President Obama measures his success by the number of deals that he agrees to.  We are indeed living in strange times!   

P.S. You can hear my show (CantoTalkor follow me on Twitter.

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Venezuela, Argentina PLUS other US-Latin America stories

Tags: US-Latin America issues of the week, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina and Mr Nisman, US-Cuba talks, dissidents arrested in Cuba,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the My View by Silvio Canto, Jr. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Alain Castillo remembers a very sad day

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The latest on the US-Cuba talks with Jorge Ponce

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why are so many WI workers not paying union dues?

The good news is that Gov. Scott Walker is a formidable presidential candidate.  The bad news is that formidable candidates always draw a lot of media attention, unless your name is Obama, and then you get a pass on issues.

A new Washington Post front-page article discusses the impact that Gov. Walker's policies have had on unions:
Walker had vowed that union power would shrink, workers would be judged on their merits, and local governments would save money. Unions had warned that workers would lose benefits and be forced to take on second jobs or find new careers.
Many of those changes came to pass, but the once-thriving ­public-sector unions were not just shrunken — they were crippled.
Unions representing teachers, professors, trash collectors and other government employees are struggling to stem plummeting membership rolls and retain relevance in the state where they got their start.
Here in King, Magnant and her fellow AFSCME members, workers at a local veterans home, have been knocking on doors on weekends to persuade former members to rejoin. 
Community college professors in Moraine Park, home to a technical college, are reducing dues from $59 to $36 each month. 
And those in Milwaukee are planing a campaign using videos and posters to highlight union principles. 
The theme: ­“Remember.”
Remember what?  Remember the days when members had to join the unions?
Gov. Walker's policies did not force members to leave the union.  All of those former union members left when they had the choice to leave. 

According to a former union member quoted in the article: "The money I’d spend on dues is way more valuable to buy groceries for my family."
Another former union member said that unions are  "just not something I concern myself with."

The moral of the story is that unions survive as long as they require members to pay dues.  Once the members are given a choice, they choose to leave.

Let's not overlook another point about these public-sector unions.  I know a teacher up in Wisconsin who was outraged because her dues were going to only one political party.  In other words, dues to public-sector unions, were nothing but contributions to the Democratic Party. 

And more will leave across the country when they have a choice.

P.S. You can hear my show (CantoTalkor follow me on Twitter.

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The media's focus on Gov Walker & a few other thoughts with Frank Burke

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Maduro “le tiene que echar la culpa a alguien” for the mess in Venezuela

(My new Babalu Blog post)

We have seen this movie before:
Second, the government arrests someone to distract the population.
In Cuba, it was the attacks on "El Diario de La Marina", the expropriation of US properties or putting thousands of Cubans in political prisons.  Our parents and grandparents remember that well!
"Venezuela’s turbulent politics appear headed for a new phase of confrontation a day after intelligence agents stormed the offices of the Caracas mayor, Antonio ­Ledezma, seizing the opposition leader for his alleged role in what President Nicolás Maduro called an “endless coup.”  
Ledezma will be indicted on charges of “conspiracy,” according to a statement released by Venezuelan state prosecutors Friday night after the 59-year-old mayor’s appearance at a Caracas tribunal. He was taken directly to the Ramo Verde military jail, the statement said — the same facility where another opposition leader, Leopoldo López, has been imprisoned for the past year.   
In a speech Friday night, Maduro said he would lay out recordings and videos next week in a special broadcast revealing the “gringo intervention in Venezuela” that Ledezma allegedly conspired with. “In Venezuela, no one is untouchable,” he warned."
"Gringo intervention"?   That sounds a lot like the "imperialismo yanki" that our parents heard years ago!
Of course, Mr Ledezma is just the latest distraction.   As you've read in Babalu, Fausta's Blog and Venezuela News & Views, Venezuela has been hit very hard by the decline in oil prices.
Venezuela's corrupt and overweight public bureaucracy requires a very high price of oil to survive.   It won't fly when the commodity drops to $50!
We have seen this movie before.   It will likely get worse down in Caracas before it gets any better.
Finally, where are the governments of Latin America?   It would be nice if other governments in the region would demand the release of Mr. Ledezma.
P.S. You can hear my show: (CantoTalk) or follow me on Twitter .

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The Clintons are always the Clintons

(The new American Thinker post)

Don't expect Hillary Clinton to answer any questions or be visible anytime soon. The Clintons have a new "ethics issue" and even The New York Times can't take it any more:
"According to a report this week in The Wall Street Journal, the ban was dropped after Mrs. Clinton left the administration in 2013, leading to a resumption of donations from foreign governments and agencies to the foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative, which sponsors conferences of world leaders from government, industry and philanthropy. 
Donors have included the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Oman and a Canadian government agency reported to be involved in promoting the Keystone XL pipeline."
I guess that's why she didn't want to answer questions about the Keystone Pipeline a few weeks ago.

It is at least a potential conflict of interest, as Professor Larry Sabato said:
"It's very unwise for Hillary Clinton to be associated with a foundation that is taking millions of dollars from foreign governments. 
This isn't just the appearance of a conflict of interest. It's a real conflict of interest."
Beyond "the conflict of interest", this is a problem for a few reasons.    

First, you can make a good case that the companies donating to the Foundation were also lobbying the State Department, as suggested by news reports:

"Hillary Clinton's ties to large corporations have come under more scrutiny after it was revealed that dozens of companies that have donated millions to her family's foundation also lobbied the State Department during her tenure as secretary of state."
Second, and more damaging to the Clinton candidacy, these reports will enrage the party's left wing.It will put more pressure on someone to challenge Mrs Clinton. It will worry many Democrats that Mrs Clinton is "damaged goods" and won't withstand an attack from the GOP.

Memo to Democrats: the Clintons are the Clintons. Buyer beware! You won't have Ross Perot in 2016 like you did in 1992!

P.S. You can hear my show: (CantoTalk) or follow me on Twitter.

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The week in review with Bill Katz, editor of Urgent Agenda

Tags: The week in review, ISIS and the war on terror, Rudy Giuliani, Scott Walker, Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the My View by Silvio Canto, Jr. Thanks!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Washington Post “tiene los ojos abierto” when it comes to US-Cuba talks

(My new Babalu blog post)

We are happy to report that the editorial board of The Washington Post continues to call it right when it comes to the ongoing US-Cuba talks.

Their latest editorial about "Courting the Castros" is right on target:

"FOR ALL the high expectations, and deep anxieties, that surround the U.S.-Cuba thaw that President Obama announced two months ago, the reality is that the process is still in its very early days.  

The two countries have not agreed even on one of the simpler bilateral issues: opening full-fledgedembassies in each other’s capitals.  

Cuban President Raúl Castro sounded an ominous note by hinting that complete normalization might depend on such far-fetched demands as the hand-over of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay or reparations for the U.S. embargo.  

U.S. political leaders would be well advised not to succumb to, or foster, exuberance about the transformation in economic relations that might be at hand — much less about the pending transformation of the Cuban regime.   

Official contacts must not sugarcoat or lend undeserved legitimacy to a dynastic dictatorship that remains one of the most repressive on the planet."

The bottom line is that the Obama administration has no idea when it comes to negotiation.

The US had all the cards in these talks.   The US could have said this:

1) Release Allan Gross unconditionally;

2) Show me how you plan to compensate US citizens who had their properties stolen; and,

3) Find me the following people who are fugitives of US law, specially that lady who killed a police officer.

Unfortunately, we did not get anything from Cuba.   Now we have to listen to Raul Castro say that Cuba is not changing.

The good news is that Congress has to approve the opening of an embassy or lifting the embargo.

I don't believe that the Obama administration has the votes today for either one.

Again, thanks to The Washington Post for reminding us of who we are doing business with in Cuba.

You can hear my show: (CantoTalk) or follow me on Twitter.

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ISIS, immigration executive order and ObamaCare penalties.....with Jim Yardley

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

ObamaCare and those Penalties around the Corner

The numbers speak for themselves: the RCP average of the last 7 polls has support for ObamaCare at 39%. The spread is minus 11!

So much for we need to pass it to learn what's in it. They passed it, we learned what's in it and don't like it much.

Obama now faces a few more challenges:

1) The Supreme Court is once again going to issue an opinion on King v Burwell. I have no idea what the court will say but a negative ruling would hurt a lot.

2) The law is unmanageable, as we just learned that wrong tax info was sent to individuals:
"The Obama administration revealed Friday that it sent about 800,000 customers a tax form containing the wrong information, and asked them to hold off on filing their 2014 taxes. 
The self-inflicted bungle follows weeks of administration officials touting a successful enrollment season -- one that saw far fewer technical glitches than the rocky launch in late 2013. 
About 11.4 million people signed up this season. But errors in tax information mean that nearly 1 million people may have to wait longer to get their tax refunds this year.   
California, which is running its own insurance market, just announced a similar problem affecting about 100,000 people in that state."
Incompetence and mismanagement seem to follow ObamaCare.
3) The law is very costly, as more and more Americans will learn very soon:
"This year is the first time ordinary Americans will experience the complicated interactions between the health care law and taxes. Based on congressional analysis, tax preparation giant H&R Block says roughly 4 million uninsured people will pay penalties."

The problem is the Obama administration did not explain "the penalties" or prepared the public for the costs. They sold the "benefits" but not the costs or hassles of this law.

My guess is that we will be "knee deep" in ObamaCare stories in a couple of months. 

My second guess is that lots of Democrats are lighting candles and praying that Justice Roberts doesn't mess it up again.

P.S. You can hear my show: (CantoTalk) or follow me on Twitter.

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Some thoughts about the immigration executive order with George Rodriguez

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Did anybody tell Rep. Pelosi about the hotel that she stayed in Cuba?

We understand that Nancy Pelosi is married to a very successful businessman in California. We are very happy that the Pelosi family has enjoyed the fruits of capitalism. Of course, they've enjoyed those fruits because they live in a country that respects property rights and does not confiscate businesses.

This week, Rep Pelosi went to Cuba and stayed at the Hotel Saratoga. Let me share this from our good friends at Capitol Hill Cubans:
"The Hotel Saratoga is a beautiful neoclassical structure in Old Havana. It was purchased in 1939 by Blanco Lopez and Co., headed by Jose Blanco and Jose Lopez Blanco, who were also leaders of the Association of Cuban Hotels.
In 1959, The Hotel Saratoga was confiscated by the Castro regime
Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union, Castro saw European and Canadian tourism as a means to salvage his dictatorship. Thus, he began seducing foreign investors to invest -- in minority partnerships with the Castro regime -- in order to reconstruct the island's hotels.
In 1999, a British company, Coral Capital Group Ltd., entered into a minority partnership with the Castro regime to transform (a then-dilapidated) Hotel Saratoga into a chic, modern, 5-star property.
Coral Capital invested over $75 million in its partnership with Castro.
In 2005, the Hotel Saratoga reopened as the swankiest hotel in Havana.
But, as always, Castro got greedy and wanted it all for himself.
Thus, in 2011, Castro confiscated Coral Capital's minority stake in the Hotel Saratoga.
And for giggles, he had Coral Capital's two senior executives in Cuba, Amado Fahkre and Stephen Purvis, imprisoned in the notorious torture facility known as Villa Marista (akin to Moscow's infamous Lubyanka).
Fahkre and Purvis spent nearly two years arbitrarily imprisoned, had all their assets confiscated and were finally expelled to Britain.
Purvis told The Telegraph about his experience as Castro's prisoner (after having been one of his biggest foreign investors):
“They decide absolutely everything about your life, even personal grooming. The idea is to separate you from your personal identity, so you lose a sense of who you are. Several inmates who passed through my cell during my time went cuckoo, and there was an attempted suicide about once a month. You’d be trying to sleep at night and suddenly there’d be this terrible wail from some other cell.”
As Pelosi and her delegation enjoy their comfortable nights at the twice-confiscated Hotel Saratoga -- embracing and promoting business with totalitarian thieves -- they should reflect on the wails from nearby Villa Marista."
Hope that she enjoyed the coffee and the view of the ocean. In reality, Nancy Pelosi is rather lucky that Mr Pelosi did not own a business in Cuba. Otherwise, she and her husband would have been among the thousands who had their property confiscated without compensation.

Of course, who cares about that?  I'm sure that Mrs Pelosi enjoyed the coffee and will tell us that the Cuban health care provides for free abortions.   

P.S. You can hear my show: (CantoTalk) or follow me on Twitter .

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Dear Jorge: Do you really want 'Hispanos' to get angry at a judge?

Jorge Ramos of Univision came out swinging at the federal judge that stopped President Obama's executive order, or was it a memo, regarding deportations.

Jorge Ramos wants Latinos to remember this in 2016, according to news reports:
"He suggested on Tuesday that Latino voters in particular would take their anger out at Republicans in 2016.
“The Texas decision clearly defines who is against immigrants in the U.S.,” 
Ramos said. “Latino voters will remember; 2016 is not that far away.” 
He also declared that Judge Andrew Hanen, who issued the injunction, “won’t have the final word” on the matter."
Here is a word for Jorge:  

1) Judge Hanen did not rule on the matter of deportations.  He did not say that these people should be deported.  All he said was that President Obama violated "the rule of law" by doing it this way, as Professor McConnell wrote yesterday:   

"The 123-page memorandum opinion carefully lays out the legal case against the program, concluding that the Obama administration lacks statutory authority to change the law without congressional action, and that the administration did not comply with the minimal procedural requirements of public notice and comment under the Administrative Procedure Act."  

This is about "the rule of law" not "Hispanos". Why is that so hard to understand?  

2) Jorge is right that Latinos should remember all of this in 2016. Yes, they should remember that it was President Obama and Democrat majorities that didn't do a thing about immigration reform. Maybe the Democrats will take Hispanos seriously if they stop blindly supporting the party that makes promises and does not keep them.

Last but not least, Jorge is originally from Mexico. 

I'm sure that he remembers how "presidencialismo" (presidential-ism) corrupted Mexico. I'm sure that he remembers how Mexican presidents went around the legislature and issued executive decrees without respect for the rule of law. 

Doesn't he remember how President Lopez-Portillo expropriated private banks in 1982 without regard for property law? It pushed the country into a deep recession and it took years for investors to believe in Mexico again.   

I happened to be living in Mexico in 1982 when all of this was going on. Many Mexicans told me that this would have never have happened in the U.S. 

Why not? Because we have a Judge Hanen with the courage to stop an out of control executive.

Jorge Ramos needs to calm down or some of us will think that he is in the tank for Obama.

P.S. You can hear my show:  (CantoTalk) or follow me on Twitter.    We discussed this topic with George Rodriguez on Friday's show:

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