"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." - President Ronald Reagan
Back in 1988, General Augusto Pinochet had run Chile for 15 years. He overthrew President Salvador Allende in 1973 and took over a country in total chaos. His free market policies turned Chile around and created an economy that was the envy of the developing world. Unfortunately, he never had the legitimacy of an election. So he did something strange. He asked the people if he should continue and they had a "plebiscite." Pinochet lost and left power. This is the story:
Gen. Augusto Pinochet's bid for eight more years in power ended in defeat today, as a united opposition beat him soundly in a presidential plebiscite of Pinochet's own design.
After a long night in which the opposition continued to announce returns showing a 60-percent vote against Pinochet and the government gave out practically no totals at all, a government spokesman announced early this morning that with three-fourths of the vote officially counted, Pinochet was losing with 53 percent of voters rejecting him. There would be no further vote totals until midday, he said.
Later, Interior Minister Sergio Fernandez, who had run Pinochet's campaign, announced that the regime would recognize the results of the vote, which he characterized as still provisional. Because of the democratic process that had transpired, "the great winner is the country," Fernandez said. Pinochet himself made no statement.
Chile said no and Pinochet accepted the verdict. Let me add that it was time for Pinochet to go as much as I admired his economic accomplishments. As a Chilean told me back in 1988, Pinochet did a good job but it was time to get our democracy back.
Down in Cuba, the situation is ripe for such a plebiscite. Cubans have never voted in a free and multi-party elections. Yes, they vote in Cuba but it's a sham because the communist party is the only in the contest.
Biden should call for such a plebiscite with international observers. It should also say that the U.S. will recognize the winner as the legitimate government and end the embargo immediately.
Will the Castro regime accept the challenge? No, but let's keep the pressure.
Guests: George Rodriguez, South Texas conservative......AG Garland vs Governor Abbott.......The border and COVID.....The political impact of the Texas Democrats leaving the state................and other stories.....
The latest GDP report will not help President Biden's approval numbers. This is the story:
Gross domestic product – the broadest measure of economic performance -- grew at a 6.5% annual rate during the second quarter, according to an advance estimate released Thursday by the Commerce Department. Analysts surveyed by Refintiv were expecting 8.5% growth. First-quarter GDP was revised down to 6.3% from its previous reading of 6.4%.
The above-trend growth in the second quarter reflected the continued reopening of the U.S. economy and government support via business loans, stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits.
Thursday’s report offers "more evidence that stimulus provided surprisingly little bang for its buck, with the economy quickly pushing against unexpected supply constraints instead, which have driven inflation higher," said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics.
Since the economy reopened businesses have navigated supply-chain issues caused by factories shutting down to help slow the spread of COVID-19. They have also struggled to find workers as extended unemployment benefits have encouraged many to stay home.
The issues have combined to lift core personal consumption expenditures, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, to 3.4% annual growth, the fastest since 1992.
Really? Stimulus provided surprisingly little bang for its buck? Can someone say the Summer of Recovery 2010? That stimulus didn’t bang either.
First, you send cash to people. To be honest, we needed to help people and businesses in 2020. COVID killed a lot of restaurant jobs and those people needed some help. I think that the Trump plan was people oriented and meant to keep payrolls going. It was not perfect but it was right.
Second, the Biden follow-up killed the economy. Did we need to extend their unemployment benefits to keep them at home rather than working at the local restaurant? No we didn't.
Now we have people sitting at home rather than working, and mom is screaming every time she buys the groceries. So we sent cash to people and wonder why inflation is up?
The latest GDP report is going to mean that Democrats running in competitive races will be out of town when President Biden comes to town.
The Trump factor in the special 6th district election.......The border is in disarray......GDP numbers below expectations........The Biden administration incoherent message on masking and vaccine...............and other stories........click to listen:
Voting rights activists lift page from civil rights movement, launch march in Central Texas.
Let's see how this march turns out.
My guess is that it will attract a crowd, especially once we see the governor's new redistricting proposal. I'm sure that it will be labeled racist before anyone has actually read it. It's the kind of thing that happens these days.
Let's hope that the marchers wear masks. After all, they don't want to go home with more cases of COVID.
And finally, it does not speak well of the cause when the print version places the story on the back page next to the poor souls who left us.
Every morning, I pick up my Dallas Morning Newsand check the front page. I can't recall the last time that "The Texas 57" were a headline or front page story. I don't see them anywhere. Maybe they are busy Zooming each other in the nation's capital.
President Biden won't see them. I think that's common sense given that the President is 78 and you don't want him around people who have got COVID. Nevertheless, the "57" are not happy. The President spent the entire campaign "Zooming" from his home and now can't find 10 minutes for them. I can't prove it but maybe the President doesn't care what their tactics.
The latest is that Speaker Dade Phelan signed a warrant to apprehend state Rep. Philip Cortez from the Houston area. I am not sure how effective this will be but it's today's news.
The "Texas 57" are facing a few realities:
1) Nobody is talking about them. At the same time, they get more hysterical every time that someone turns on a microphone; and,
2) The U.S. Congress is not helping much, according to this analysis in the Texas Tribune.
Over the past few days, the Texas delegation has met with nearly all the most powerful Democrats in Washington, save for President Joe Biden. But there is not yet clear movement to revive the congressional Democrats’ federal voting legislation.
So what happens now? Not much. The House's bill will die in the Senate and few members of Congress want to run the risk of infection.
My guess is that this gang left Texas convinced that voters would build each one a statue in Austin. Instead, they are now the source of jokes and getting angry at everyone. It does not get better than the "2021 Bum Steer of the Year".
The Biden administration's inconsistent message on vaccines....The Texas Democrats missing and nobody is talking about them.........Where is Biden on Cuba?.............and other stories........click to listen:
A senior Chinese diplomat on Monday bluntly warned the visiting American deputy secretary of state, Wendy R. Sherman, that the Biden administration’s strategy of pursuing both confrontation and cooperation with Beijing was sure to fail.
China’s vice foreign minister, Xie Feng, told Ms. Sherman that the United States’ “competitive, collaborative and adversarial rhetoric” was a “thinly veiled attempt to contain and suppress China,” according to a summary of Mr. Xie’s comments that the Chinese foreign ministry sent to reporters.
Ms. Sherman’s meetings offered the latest gauge of the Biden administration’s strategy of stepping up pressure against the Chinese government on several fronts, including human rights and internet hacking, while seeking to work together on global problems like climate change and international health threats. Mr. Xie’s remarks underscored the anger that has been building in China toward the United States, undermining the chances that the approach will work.
In your face, Wendy, or something like that.
The Chinese must feel that this kind of language does not cost them anything. Maybe they watched that CNN Town Hall Meeting. Or maybe they saw the incoherent withdrawal from Afghanistan. Or maybe they expect the Biden administration to focus on climate change rather than growing the U.S. economy.
China has decided that they can take shots at the US without consequence. Why not? They allegedly hatched a virus that destroyed the world's economy and killed three million people.
Wonder what they're thinking in Taiwan about all of this? I don't know, but I'd be worried if I lived in that island.
Guest: Bill Katz, the editor of Urgent Agenda...….Jacki Mason dead at 93..The Biden CNN town hall vs Trump rally.....talk of lockdowns here but protests in France & Australia .......the Cleveland Guardians? Olympics TV audience.....and more stories....click to listen:
Once again, athletes have found a receptive media for all their political philosophy. I recall when they got questions about their sport: "Hey Tom Seaver did you think that the manager was going to take you out of the game when you walked the first batter in the 9th inning?" Or "Hey Bart Starr did you call that Quarterback sneak in the huddle or on the line"?
Now, they've all become political pundits because they know that there is a microphone waiting for their comments.
The latest is Sue Bird of the WNBA. In the interest of full disclosure, I don't watch the WNBA and did not know this young woman's name. Nevertheless, here is Sue the self appointed philosopher:
Sue Bird and the rest of the WNBA have been at the forefront of social justice protests and during the 2021 season, most players have left the court before the national anthem has played.
Bird and Team USA have no plans to leave the court for the national anthem during Olympic competitions this coming week and the Seattle Storm legend sees no contradiction in it.
"You are wearing USA jerseys, and it does change the conversation a little bit and what you're representing," Bird told the Associated Press on Saturday. "With that, I don't feel like a hypocrite in any way. Everyone knows where we stand. I don't think it contradicts anything since we're actually doing the work."
Bird and her fellow Olympic teammates have shown unity through their exhibition matches by locking arms before tip-off. Bird was also the U.S. flag bearer during the parade of nations at the opening ceremony in Tokyo.
She said she believes people know where their stance is on social justice issues.
You really think so, Sue? WNBA games average 357,000 viewers across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. It's better than than the 205,000 from 2020 but still a rather small number. Hallmark, with super traditional movies and no actor pretending to be a philosopher, is at 493,000, so what does that tell you Sue?
It sounds to me that sports fans are sending you and the WNBA a message: "We don't care!" And they are going to care even less if you keep thinking that the country cares what you think about this or that. Don't believe me? Ask your partners at the NBA.
A few days ago, I argued on Spanish TV that the Democrats are using the "voting rights" topic to distract Hispanic voters. In other words, distract them from the price of gasoline and a few other things going up at "la bodega."
Yes, inflation is starting to hit the family budget, and people are screaming. Let's check with Jordan Weissmann:
When it comes to America's recent bout of unexpectedly high inflation, Joe Biden and Jerome Powell are both making the same bet: It's just temporary.
Over the past few months, consumer prices have spiked in a way not seen for decades, a fact that has clearly spooked a good number of Americans. But as the president and Federal Reserve chair have both pointed out, the increases have been driven in large part by passing problems like supply chain snafus in a handful of industries, leading to things like an unprecedented jump in the cost of used cars.
"These are factors that will wane over time and then inflation will then move down toward our goals," Powell said in June. In a recent speech meant to calm voters' nerves, Biden similarly said the snarls were "expected to be temporary."
As Mr. Weissmann explains later in the article, temporary is not the same as short. In other words, it may be "temporary" enough to turn into the driving issue of 2022.
Inflation, as some of us remember from 1979–81, disrupts everything in the society. It drives up the price of real estate and then drives out younger families from buying their first home. Gasoline and food prices kill the middle class because wages can't keep up. Again, I saw this movie, and the story is awful.
The Democrats are desperately trying to make 2022 about the people who broke into the Capitol on January 6. On the other hand, the voters would rather hear about the inflation eroding their lifestyle.
Baseball, the love of my life since I was a kid in Cuba, is now boring, and a "woke commissioner" does not help matters.
The game is now about hitting home runs or strikeouts. Complete games are now a thing of the past, replaced by managers who make decisions from computer stats that would make the late Billy Martin blow up in the dugout. Martin counted pitches but looked at the man’s eyes when he went to the mound.
So let's get in a time tunnel and remember baseball when it was fun watching games.
Back on this day in 1983, I caught the highlights of the Royals vs. Yankees "pine tar game" on ESPN when the network used to do sports rather than political commentary.
All of a sudden, Hall of Famer George Brett was on the umpire's face and Billy Martin was up to one of his tricks. It was great. Today, they would call it "toxic masculinity." Back then, it was two guys going at each other.
Baseball games often end with home runs, but until today the team that hit the home run always won. At Yankee Stadium today, the team that hit the home run lost. If that unusual development produced a sticky situation, blame it on pine tar. With two out in the ninth inning, George Brett of the Kansas City Royals hit a two-run home run against Rich Gossage that for several minutes gave the Royals a 5‚4 lead over the Yankees. But Brett was called out by the umpires for using an illegal bat-one with an excessive amount of pine tar. The ruling, after a protest by Billy Martin, the Yankees' manager, enabled the Yankees to wind up with a 4‚3 victory.
"I can sympathize with George," Gossage remarked after the game, "but not that much." The outcome, which the Royals immediately protested, is certain to be talked about for years to come, because it was one of the more bizarre finishes any game has ever had. "I couldn't believe it," Brett said, infinitely more calm than when he charged at the umpires after their controversial call. "It knocks you to your knees," added Dick Howser, the Kansas City manager. "I'm sick about it. I don't like it. I don't like it at all. I don't expect my players to accept it."
The umpire did not use a ruler to measure the pine tar on Brett's 341/2-inch bat; they didn't have one. So they placed it across home plate, which measures 17 inches across. When they did, they saw that the pine tar exceeded the legal limit. The four umpires conferred again, and then Tim McClelland, the home plate umpire, thrust his right arm in the air, signaling that Brett was out…
Thankfully, the AL president reversed the decision. They finished the game on a future date and KC won because of the Brett home run!
The "pine tar" game was the last chapter in the Yankees-Royals rivalry. It started with very intense post season series that saw New York beat Kansas City in 1976, 1977 and 1978. KC finally beat NY in 1980 and most of the players were still around when the "pine tar game" happened in 1983.
In other words, these two teams did not like each other at all -- baseball at its best, tough rivalries, players leaving it on the field.
No wokism, just baseball. I miss those days.
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