Saturday, April 30, 2016

Latin America this week: A chat with Orestes Matacena and Fausta Rodriguez Wertz





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Trump vs Cruz: A look at the Indiana primary with Chris Corbett





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"Muchos idiotas" HELPING Trump with their Mexican flags





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So John Wayne is a racist now?

Are we insane or what? Just saw this story out of California about John Wayne:
What a California lawmaker intended as a benign resolution honoring a late, world-renowned movie icon exploded into an emotional debate over decades-old racist comments.
The state Assembly defeated the official ode to John Wayne Thursday after several legislators described statements he made about racial minorities and his support for the anti-communist House Un-American Activities Committee and John Birch Society.
To be honest, I am a lot more familiar with John Wayne’s movies than his political
affiliations. It may be true that he made statements years ago that were not suitable for framing, as they say. However, so have others, including Democrats like the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia or President Woodrow Wilson.
John Wayne is a symbol of the legendary West or the cowboy culture. He is arguably the best known cowboy in the world. His movies are watched today in a number of languages. Wayne is one of the most popular Americans of all time. Do you hear any people of color objecting to his movies? (Not to mention that two of his three wives — Esperanza Baur and Pilar Pallete — were Latinas.) 
So what’s going on here? What would drive a state legislator to pick on John Wayne?   
My good guess is that this legislator does not like American history or he or she sees our past as a racist one. Everything is about “racism” with many in the left.   
Furthermore, all of this obsession with racism is not solving real world problems in California. Maybe state legislators in California should show this kind of hostility against the teachers’ union holding back black and Hispanic kids in lousy schools or the Obama stimulus that did nothing to stimulate the state economy. 
We are going insane in the U.S. and the left is leading the way. Thank God I don’t live in California and can celebrate John Wayne every day.  
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The GOP race before Indiana with Richard Baehr of American Thinker





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Friday, April 29, 2016

How much of the Trump speech will we remember?

Back in the 2000 debates, I recall then-Governor Bush taking a very cautious approach toward intervention and nation building:
If we don’t stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we’re going to have a serious problem coming down the road, and I’m going to prevent that.
Well then 9/11 happened and everything from the 2000 debates and speeches were thrown out the window.   
Also, one had to see Saddam Hussein’s WMDs in a different context, as most Democrats reminded us when they enthusiastically voted for the Iraq War.
Yesterday, Mr. Trump delivered a good speech that should please a lot of voters who feel that the U.S. needs to look out for its interests rather than those of others.     
I agree with the NY Post that voters will like it:
He started by identifying the key problems: Too few resources, with a weakened military and a weakened US economy. Allies who aren’t stepping up — in part because they no longer trust Washington to have their backs.
Enemies who don’t fear us, and rivals who don’t respect us.
Above all, “America no longer has a clear understanding of our foreign-policy goals.” And we haven’t since the end of the Cold War.
Mr. Trump will get good reviews but time will tell whether we will or not remember what he said.
On nation building, I agree that we shouldn’t intervene unless there is a national interest.   
Well, I think that there was a national interest in Iraq and the “nation building” worked rather well until President Obama pulled the plug for political reasons.
As for NATO countries, it’s fair to say that many are not paying their way. My guess is that every president from Truman to GW Bush has told our NATO allies that they should do more. At the same time, having a military presence in Europe was in our national interest as a check to the USSR. It may not be anymore and Mr. Trump may be right in seeking a different direction.   
Mr. Trump wants to destroy ISIS quickly and come home.    
However, leading is more than dropping bombs and coming home.    
We would have lost Korea and Germany if we had not done some nation building in the past.   
We often have to stay around to make sure that our gains are preserved. We did in Korea and Europe. We didn’t in Vietnam and Iraq. The first two are success stories of “nation building” but the last two are not. It was not the nation building that failed but U.S. weakness.     
Mr. Trump will remember, or be reminded of, what he said. It depends on what lies ahead and no one has a clue of what that will be.   
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Mr Trump's big night, foreign policy and other thoughts





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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday's tweets






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How would President Trump stop a business from moving overseas?


Let me agree with Mr. Trump, and supporters, that it's a very bad idea for U.S. companies to move overseas and take those jobs elsewhere.    
I have personally seen the consequences of these moves in Mexico.    
You can see all of these companies in the industrial sectors of Monterrey, Queretaro, Tijuana, and other Mexican cities.  
They are down there hiring Mexicans, from floor sweepers to engineers to lots of people with university degrees. They are hiring professionals from the top schools south of the border.
Again, I don't like it but what can a U.S. president really do about it? What legal authority does a U.S. president have to stop it?     
Back in 2013, Ryder published a great post detailing the reasons that US companies move to Mexico. This is the one that caught my attention:
Duty-free imports, tax credits & incentives: maquiladoras operate in free trade zones, enabling companies to import materials and equipment without paying taxes or duties, then re-exporting finished products. 
The Mexican government also offers a variety of incentives, from capital equipment grants and help with infrastructure to real estate grants, the Aerospace Training Center in Querétaro and tax credits.
How does a U.S. president stop this? He can't unilaterally, no matter how much pressure he puts on the executives not to make the move.
Furthermore, renegotiating NAFTA would mean undoing the economic infrastructure that ties Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. It would likely mean that Congress would be involved because this is how we do it in the U.S.
It takes me back to one point. The best way to keep companies here is to make the U.S. the most profitable place in the world to do business. You can do this with a new tax code and the elimination of many regulations.  
Again, any change in the tax code or end of regulations will require Congress again.
Sadly, Trump is raising a lot of expectations rather than proposing solutions to fix the problem of jobs going overseas.
Again, I hate jobs going overseas as much as Trump. At the same, all I've heard so far are slogans rather than solutions. In other words, this is a lot more complicated than we've heard from Mr. Trump.
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Brazil update, Cuba today and other US-Latin America stories this week





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Smokey looking for Miracles in Cuba?

(My new Babalu post)


In the interests of full disclosure, Smokey Robinson is a very talented performer and songwriter. However, he’s a bit naive thinking that music will change Cuba.
Smokey is down in Cuba with other musicians.   It’s part of the latest effort to promote cultural contacts:
The three artists were among a dozen who joined a presidential delegation led by the directors of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Smithsonian Institution that wrapped up a three day-mission to Cuba on Thursday morning. The purpose was to expand cultural exchanges with Cuba — the latest sign of warming relations in the wake of the countries’ decision to restore full diplomatic ties last year. The U.S. and Cuban cultural leaders announced the delegation’s achievements at a closing forum in the beautifully restored Grand Theater.
The officials’ delicately worded, and bilaterally edited, bureaucratese did not quite match the giddy passion of the artists, but it seemed that some progress had been made, even as the Cubans’ ire at the U.S. trade embargo hovered over the proceedings.
Like others before, Smokey does not understand that the problem in Cuba is Castro not exposure to US music.   In fact, most Cubans are already familiar with Smokey and can hear his music via Radio Marti or an AM station out of Miami.
The real problem in Cuba is a lack of freedom not music.
How did Smokey’s trip promote freedom in Cuba?
It didn’t and that’s the problem!
In fact, Smokey’s music sales in Cuba will enrich the Castro regime.   Castro Inc will share the profits with Smokey and the Cuban people won’t get anything out of this.
Let me paraphrase one of Smokey’s songs (“You really got a hold on me”) and remind everyone that the Castro regime’s really got a hold on the democratic aspirations of the Cuban people.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A couple of Tweets about Clinton vs Trump






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For Obama, this is no summer of '08

Remember the summer of 2008? Remember then Senator Obama getting a fanatical reception from some Europeans? It was fanatical and embarrassing to watch adults treat a man they didn't know a thing about like someone who had an answer for every problem in the world.

They called the speech "historic" but who remembers a word he said? The Guardian did express some concern about the reaction:
For the man who has brought rock-star charisma to electoral politics, today saw the campaign rally as pop festival, a summer gathering of peace, love -- and loathing of George Bush.
Taking what he calls his "improbable journey" to the heart of Europe, Barack Obama succeeded in closing down one of Berlin's main thoroughfares tonight, luring the city's young in their tens of thousands to stand in the evening sunshine and hear him spin his dreams of hope, not for America this time, but for the whole world.
The young and the pierced, some with guitars slung over their shoulders, others barefoot, jammed up against each other to cheer on a man who in less than a year has become the world's most popular serving politician, even if, as yet, he has been elected to no office grander than the junior Senate seat for Illinois.
They are not cheering today. In Germany, thousands marched against free trade deals and carried posters that reminded us of the ones about Bush. In Saudi Arabia, he was greeted by the governor of a state or province rather than a high-level delegation. In London, he got into trouble every time he opened his mouth.

In 2008, we heard about his brilliance. Today, we read about his arrogance:
Obama’s election in 2008 inspired the world. But after eight years, it’s hard not to blame his abrasive style of politics for the rise of anti-politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Americans are rebelling against the emergence of an imperial presidency. As Barack Obama offers his hand to the Queen this week, and lectures the British on their place in the world, voters here might feel somewhat resentful, too.
From brilliance to arrogance and now failure.   

President Obama has failed to project U.S. power the way his predecessors did. In 2008, thousands longed for a U.S. president who didn't project power but rather led with words that told them what they wanted to hear.   

The Europeans and most of our allies have seen the consequences of that soft style and can't wait for America to be America again -- the superpower that protected them all of those years. They will never say it but they long for Bush or a leader of the free world again.

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The Pennsylvania primary and other thoughts





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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A couple of tweets about Hillary





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Trump leading the league in donating to Democrats

(My new Babalu post)


This is the same Governor McAuliffe who just signed an executive order restoring voting rights to 206,000 convicted felons in Virginia.  We don’t know how these 200,000 plus will vote but President Obama defeated Governor Romney by 116,000 votes.     Would it be fair to say that the governor of Virginia just gave Mrs Clinton a bit of a head start?
Let me add that Governor McAuliffe is very close to the Clintons.   The donation goes back to 2009 when the Clintons’ good friend was running for governor of Virginia.
And he leads the league in donating to Democrats!
It will be fun to watch the debates and see Mrs Clinton remind Mr Trump of all of those donations that he made to her friends!
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Chaos has Austrians voting for order

Some of us have worried about Europe being the ghost of the future, sort of like the ghost that appeared to Scrooge in Dickens’ novel. Remember the scenes about the future and how Scrooge eventually changed?
Well, the ghost of the yet-to-come has a few Austrians rethinking their future. It looks like many want change,as we saw in Austria’s elections:
Austria’s government was licking its wounds Monday after a historic debacle that saw the opposition anti-immigrant far-right triumph in a presidential ballot two years before the next scheduled general election.
According to preliminary results, Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party (FPOe) came a clear first with 36 percent of the vote, while candidates from the two governing parties failed to even make it into a runoff on May 22.
I am not suggesting that an Austrian Barry Goldwater is about to become the next leader of Austria.   However, there is anger in the streets of Vienna and just about everywhere else. The anger is clearly setting up nationalist parties to do well in elections.
We have some good friends in Austria and exchanged information for a few months about the refugee problem. Therefore, I am not really surprised by these election results. I’ve been reading the anger between the lines in the messages.
Over and over, my friend used the word “chaos” in his messages. He told me that the refugee crisis is threatening their culture and the relative peace that Austria has enjoyed since World War II. They are not anti-immigrant or inhumane. They want order, specially the orderly integration of people who come from cultures with radically different values, i.e. women’s rights!
They also say something that we also hear over here. They say that they can’t recognize their country anymore, i.e. too many people who are not Austrians.   
Austria may be starting something over in Europe. I guess people will only take so much “chaos” before they vote for those who promise order.
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President Obama misfires over in Europe and a few other stories of the week





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Monday, April 25, 2016

Mrs. Obama should know better

Welcome to the last 270 days and here comes Mrs. Obama.    
During a school speech, First Lady Obama decided to attack the people of Mississippi and their elected officials. This is from the Daily Mail of the UK:
Michelle Obama has waded into Mississippi’s religious freedom law row, slamming the state for marginalizing the LGBT community.
The First Lady told 35,000 people at Jackson State University to ‘stand side by side’ with people of all sexualities, not only on social media but also at the ballot box.
‘We see it right here in Mississippi — just two weeks ago — how swiftly progress can hurtle backward,’ Mrs Obama said in her commencement speech.
‘How easy it is to single out a small group and marginalize them because of who they are or who they love.’ 
Then she went after people who don’t vote:
Continuing her speech in Mississippi, Mrs Obama said if people fail to exercise their fundamental right to vote, rights will be under threat.
‘Congress will still be gridlocked. Statehouses will continue to roll back voting rights and write discrimination into the law,’ she said. 
She said many young black people disenfranchised themselves in the 2014 midterm elections, when only about 20 percent of them voted.
‘You can hashtag all over Instagram and Twitter, but those social medial movements will disappear faster than a Snapchat if you’re not also registered to vote,’ the First Lady said. 
Frankly, this is very unfortunate, demagogic, and irresponsible.
It is unfortunate because the First Lady should be speaking in a positive tone, especially to young people who are getting a degree and listening to the first African American woman in that role.  
Also, what reason did the Obama administration give young African Americans to vote?  
It is demagogic because she is not offering any solutions other than making noise. Has she actually spoken to African Americans about men using women’s bathrooms? It’s easy to make noise about this issue when your own daughters will never use a public restroom without security around or attend a public school.
It is irresponsible because it shows the Democrats’ desperation. They are down to the gender, racism or whatever other card to get voters excited about Mrs. Clinton. There is a lot of youthful excitement on their side, but it’s about Senator Sanders not Mrs. Clinton.
The last 270 days will be tough to take. My guess is that President Obama knows that there is not much of a legacy, from a collapsing ObamaCare to the mess in the Middle East to the events we just watched in London.    
Yes, the Obamas will go out with a bang but not a very classy one at all.
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The week in review with Bill Katz, the editor of Urgent Agenda





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Sunday, April 24, 2016

The book "Show boat" by Edna Ferber



We watched the "Show Boat" last night.   I was delighted to hear that it was originally a book by Edna Ferber published in 1926.  The story is about a the showboats that ran up and down the Mississippi a long time ago.

Well, I need to read that book.  




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The Dallas Opera put on quite a "Show Boat" this weekend



What a great show:  The Dallas Opera put on a great performance of "Show Boat".   The story takes us back to the old South and the Mississippi River.   The music is great and that song "Old man River" is superb.

We discussed the show with Bill Katz, the editor of Urgent Agenda on Sunday.   Bill has followed musicals over the years and saw the show in New York when he was a young man.    Here is the conversation:



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The last player from the Negro League hit his first major league homer 62 years ago yesterday

(My new American Thinker post)

There are many angles to the Hank Aaron story.  He retired with 755 home runs and passed Babe Ruth in 1974.  He was an amazing player who was always around the top of the league in HRs, hits and batting average.  And he could play defense too.  

I finally got to see him play in 1971 when the Braves came to Milwaukee for an exhibition game.

We remember that Aaron hit his first home run off of Vic Raschi on April 23rd  in 1954

However, his greatest accomplishment is something that few people talk about.  Aaron was the last player from The Negro Leagues to play in the major leagues.   

I think that it's fitting that the man who broke the cherished home run record was the last player from the old Negro Leagues.  It was the perfect way to close a sad chapter and begin one where all Americans could play ball.

It was also landmark moment in the progress that we've made on civil rights.

Sadly, too many self appointed civil rights leaders promote victim-hood or don't want us to see the progress we've made.  Yet, the progress is all around us.   We see successful African Americans, from my sons' outstanding high school principal to the wonderful athletes who dominate sports to the growing number of entrepreneurs.

It's not perfect and indeed a work in progress.   But a lot of progress has been made.   

After all, the man who beat Babe Ruth's record was the last man who played in the Negro Leagues.

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

The GOP race between New York and Pennsylvania primaries






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The risks of being the de facto nominee

(My new American Thinker post)

Does Mr. Trump really want Senator Cruz or Governor Kasich to get out? He may say so, but is Trump really ready to be the only man standing?

Trump learned yesterday that the media is not his friend, no matter how much they are desperately trying to get him nominated.

Gotcha question # 1 was about bathrooms.  

Trump, who pretends to be the smartest man ever to run for president and master manipulator of the media, can not see a "gotcha" question yet.     

The purpose of the bathroom question was not to learn his opinion about a complicated question. It was about starting a controversy and a big one got started
“North Carolina did something — it was very strong — and they’re paying a big price,” Mr. Trump said. “And there’s a lot of problems. And I heard — one of the best answers I heard was from a commentator yesterday saying, leave it the way it is, right now.”
He added that before the law passed, there had been “very few problems” but now North Carolina is experiencing an exodus of businesses and “strife” from people on both sides of the issue.
“You leave it the way it is,” he said. “There have been very few complaints the way it is.”
A better answer would have been to throw back the grenade and say that this is a state matter. His answer may have been an honest one but confirms what Senator Cruz said about New York values.   

He stepped on it again when he answered another "gotcha question # 2" about abortion. Trump wants to change the GOP platform on abortion.   

Again, another rookie answer. He is not going to get any pro-abortion votes by saying this but will upset many of the pro-life people who've been working hard to elect GOP candidates.

Trump's style worked great when he got 90 seconds to answer questions on a crowded stage. He is alone now and that means that he is the one getting all of the questions.

So far he is stepping on it a lot more than he is connecting with the base.   
GOP voters are about to get a rather unique look at Trump.   

They will get a free "test drive" for a couple of months. They'll get to drive it before the 1,237 is official.

My guess in late April is that many of the uncommitted delegates will learn that he is not ready for the fall campaign, no matter how often he calls her "Crooked Hillary".

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

-------------------------------------------------------
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Russian jets, NATO and President Obama in London & Saudi Arabia with Barry Jacobsen





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Friday, April 22, 2016

They don’t greet President Obama at the airports anymore


Don’t be surprised if President Obama has an emotional attachment to that Neil Diamond/Barbra Streisand song, “You don’t bring me flowers anymore.”
A month ago, we were surprised that Cuba’s Raúl Castro did not greet President Obama at the airport.  After all, they told us it was historic.  It had not happened since President Coolidge visited Cuba in the late 1920s.  Castro would have been the second leader in Cuban history to greet a U.S. president on Cuban soil.  However, he stayed home doing something rather than showing up to make history.  Maybe a pirated copy of The Mambo Kings was on Cuban TV that afternoon.
Well, it happened again.  Another world leader was too busy to greet the president of the U.S.  He was welcomed by Prince Faisal bin Bandar Al Saud, the governor of Riyadh.
Yes, our president is now greeted by governors.  It does not get any more insulting than that.  Maybe having Russian jets fly within 50 feet of U.S. warships is a very close second!
King Salman was not there to greet President Obama.  However, he found time to greet other world leaders just last week:
Ahead of Mr Obama’s arrival, Saudi state television showed the king personally greeting senior officials from other Gulf nations arriving at the King Salman Air Base, the Associated Press reported.
Mustafa Alani, a security analyst at the Gulf Research Centre, said the Saudi decision not to dispatch a high-level delegation to greet the president was unusual and intended to send a clear message that they had little faith in him. 
It is true that Saudi Arabia is angry over the redacted pages from the 9-11 report.  Frankly, it’s a tough call, and I am willing to give President Bush and President Obama the benefit of the doubt here.  After all, they have more information than I do.  At the same time, President Obama could make a speech about the issue rather than let his critics dominate the coverage.
Saudi Arabia is angry about something else: the Iran deal.  They just don’t like the idea that Iran is going to get all of those billions of dollars, as reported by The Guardian:
Their larger fear is that Iran, flush with new revenues, will be emboldened to intensify its activities across an already violent and unstable Middle East.
“Every country in the world is worried about this,” Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, said last week as sanctions were set to lift
“Iran’s record has been one of war and destruction, terrorism, destabilisation, interference in the affairs of other countries and the concern … is that Iran not use these funds in order to fund destabilisation activities, but instead use the funds to improve the well being of its people.”
Saudi Arabia is not a perfect ally.  However, they are a major player in the region.
They also didn’t get the memo about the Iran deal and Obama’s legacy.   
Maybe Saudi Arabia understands something about legacy than the Obama supporters don’t get.  It’s legacy only if it works.  It’s a bad idea if it doesn’t work.  As Warren Spahn said about a pitch that Willie Mays put in the seats: “Gentlemen, for the first 60 feet, that was a hell of a pitch“!
President Obama is off to London next.  He’s got some fence-mending there, too.
We’ve come a long way from that summer of 2008 visit to Germany, when thousands of fools cheered the new American messiah.
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