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Thursday, 18 December 2014

THE "NORMALIZATION" DEAL WITH CUBA

Ken Berwitz

Let me get this straight.

Cuba - still run by the castro brothers 54 years after their "revolution", and still an abject disaster, falling apart at the seams - arrested and "convicted" Alan Gross for trying to provide internet access to Cuban Jews (an isolated and despised minority within what Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Michael Moore and numerous other Hollywood geniuses think of as a wonderful land of opportunity).

Gross is sentenced to 15 years in prison, and rots there for 5 of those years - with President Obama unable and/or unwilling to do a thing about it.

But now?  Now that the drop in oil prices means Cuba's benefactors, Russia and Venezuela, can no longer keep its failed system afloat, so castro & Co. desperately need a lifeline?  President Obama comes running to the rescue.

Mr. Obama makes what he evidently considers to be a great deal with the castro thugs:  he swaps Gross for three convicted Cuban spies.  An "even" swap of one man who tried to facilitate free thought for 3 convicted spies.  No congressional advice, consent or approval asked for.

And what does the USA get in return for handing over a man whom Cuba sentenced to 15 years in jail because he tried to provide an avenue of free thought to a segment of its people?  raul castro promises he will provide the Cuban people with more access to free thought....exactly what Gross was jailed for in the first place.

Can Barack Obama possibly be as naive as he would have to be to make this "deal? 

The answer is that he is the same President who bought Iran's promise not to continue its nuclear weapons program.  And the same President who called ISIS a "jayvee squad" earlier this year.  So the answer is yes.

I count the seconds until the Obama nightmare is over.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 08:39 AM   Add Comment

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

CONGRATULATIONS TO KIM JUNG UN

Ken Berwitz

Congratulations, kim.  You've done it.  Your guys' hacking of Sony Pictures, and threats to give us another 9/11 if any theaters show Sony's picture, "The Interview", a comedy movie about you, have worked.  Sony is pulling it from theaters.

Now you can go back to living it up with what little revenue comes into North Korea while your people starve in the streets.

What a guy.

My guess - one that won't be playing in any theaters?  You'll get yours. 

Soon.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 17:37 PM   1 comment

AN INTERESTNG IRONY

Ken Berwitz

After a day of wild swings - first down, then up, then down again - West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Oil finished down today, closing at $55.93

Therefore, despite the desperate efforts of Russia's central bank to prevent it from happening, the ruble is still in rubble.

I'm sorry for the Russian people. But, then again, they are the ones who elected and re-elected vladimir putin, aren't they?  And isn't he the guy who has decided to try resurrecting the USSR by annexing the Crimea and invading what's left of the Ukraine? 

Let's see him do it without an economy.

And isn't putin the guy who has spent years smirkingly, arrogantly, disdainfully flipping the bird to Barack Obama?  While Mr. Obama stood by helplessly, with virtually no response, no retribution of any kind?

How ironic that the free market is doing to Putin's Russia what President Obama couldn't come close to doing?

Call it a fracking miracle.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 17:13 PM   Add Comment

MARTHA MCSALLY WINS THE RECOUNT

Ken Berwitz

Congratulations to Martha McSally, who has just been officially declared the winner in Arizona's 2nd congressional district over incumbent Democrat Ron Barber.  The margin?  167 (six more than the original count).

This means that Republicans, who went into the midterm elections with a solid house majority, have increased it by 13 more seats.  The final count is 247 Republicans and 188 Democrats.

With this House, and a 54 - 46 majority in the Senate, it should be an interesting final two years of the Obama administration.  To say the least.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 13:10 PM   Add Comment

THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

Ken Berwitz

Today's quote comes to us from a source I don't usually cite for positive reasons:  Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

But Mr. Menendez, who knows first-hand about who and what the Cuban regime is, has issued a statement about President Obama's "trade" of Alan Gross for three convicted Cuban spies, and his apparent determination to use this as a springboard for normalizing relations with Castro & Co. that rings so true, he wins Quote Of The Day honors hands-down.

Here is Mr. Menendez's statement in its entirety:

"This is a moment of profound relief for Alan Gross and his family. Mr. Gross' physical and mental health has declined severely as a result of his five-year imprisonment under difficult conditions. He should have been released immediately and unconditionally five years ago. He committed no crime and was simply working to provide internet access to Cuba's small Jewish community. His imprisonment was cruel and arbitrary, but consistent with the behavior of the Cuban regime.

"Let's be clear, this was not a "humanitarian" act by the Castro regime. It was a swap of convicted spies for an innocent American.

"President Obama's actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government. There is no equivalence between an international aid worker and convicted spies who were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage against our nation. One spy was also convicted of conspiracy to murder for his role in the 1996 tragedy in which the Cuban military shot down two U.S. civilian planes, killing several American citizens. My heart goes out to the American families that lost love ones on that fateful day.

"Trading Mr. Gross for three convicted criminals sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips. I fear that today’s actions will put at risk the thousands of Americans that work overseas to support civil society, advocate for access to information, provide humanitarian services, and promote democratic reforms.

"This asymmetrical trade will invite further belligerence toward Cuba's opposition movement and the hardening of the government's dictatorial hold on its people. Let us all remind ourselves that an untold number of ordinary people yearning for democracy remain imprisoned by the exact same tormentors that have punished Alan Gross and they, along with all Cubans, deserve a free and liberated Cuba."

To which I reply, yes.  Exactly.  100% correct.

Thank you, Senator Menendez, for speaking the truth, even though it is to the leader of your own party:  a man who appears to have little understanding of what truth is. 

May many of your Democrat counterparts follow suit.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 13:02 PM   Add Comment

THE RELEASE OF ALAN GROSS

Ken Berwitz

Details about the sudden release of American Alan Gross after five years of imprisonment (and 10 more to go in his sentence) are sketchy right now which, to me, means they are almost certain to change.

But what we do know is that Gross was convicted by what passes for a criminal justice system in Cuba of "Acts against the Independence and Territorial Integrity of the State", for providing communications systems that could have been used to get information not supplied by the state - i.e. Castro - controlled media.  And that this is not a simple release, but an exchange for at least three Cubans convicted of spying in the United States.

There is speculation that President Obama will use this as a springboard to try to normalize relations with the Castro regime.  But we don't know that for a fact yet.

What would we get out of normalization of relations with Cuba - other than legal Cuban cigars and another tourist destination among the dozens which already exist in that part of the world?  Beats me. 

What would Cuba get out of mormalization of relations with the USA?  A huge boon to its decimated economy - one which has never been anything but a catastrophe, even with the ongoing aid of the USSR, then Russia, then Venezuela Brazil and other leftist governments in Latin America. 

Cuba, simply put, is a case study in the failure of the communist state.

I am glad Mr. Gross is out of prison and back in the USA (he just landed).  Beyond that, I'll wait to find out what his release entails.  I suggest you do too.

But knowing that President Obama - with his virtually unbroken string of foreign policy disasters - is in charge, I can't say I am optimistic.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 11:33 AM   Add Comment

JEB BUSH 2016?

Ken Berwitz

He was a popular Governor of Florida - a key presidential state.

As Governor, he lowered taxes and significantly improved the state's education ratings

He is neither a right wing Republican nor a RINO (Republican In Name Only)  - though people on both sides will try to make the case that he is.

His wife is a Mexican national whom he met while teaching English there.  He and his family (three children) speak Spanish fluently - and Bush has publicly made his sympathies known towards at least partial amnesty/path to citizenship for illegals.  This will be enormously significant for the burgeoning Latino vote.

He has been out of politics (i.e. in the real world) for 12 years and has a successful business record to show for it.

His name is Bush, and he is from a family that has produced A U.S. Senator, a congressperson, two Governors and two Presidents.  Despite that remarkable list of elective successes, this may well be more of a liability than an asset - partly out of weariness with the Bush name (a problem the possible Democrat nominee, Hillary Clinton, may have as well) and partly because media have made both his father and brother out to be failed Presidents.

He will have difficulty winning Republican primaries - in no small part because of his stand on illegals.  On the other hand, he is a proven vote-getter, which should help him in those primaries...and, if he is nominated, in the general election.

All things considered? Though far from a perfect fit for Republicans in 2016, Bush would be a formidable candidate against just about any Democrat. 

If he actually runs, and if he can get through the primaries, Jeb Bush would give Democrats a lot to worry about.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 10:41 AM   1 comment

OIL FUTURES

Ken Berwitz

I don't know how long it will stay there, but Texas light crude oil is down another $1.36 and, as I type this, January contracts are trading at $54.52 a barrel.

Far and away, the single biggest reason for oil futures dropping in half (literally - they were at about $108 a barrel this summer)?  Fracking - which President Obama very strongly, very publicly opposes.

Now watch him take credit for the benefits lower oil prices bring to us.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 08:47 AM   1 comment

OBAMA'S EXECUTIVE ORDERS...AND MEMORANDA: ANOTHER LIE

Ken Berwitz

President Obama has spent years assuring us that, despite those crazy right winger tea party Republican no-nothings' claims, he has signed far fewer executive orders than just about any other President.

I bet some folks, despite how many times he has lied to us in the past about a myriad of issues, believed him anyway.

Whoops.  Bamboozled again.

Let me take the opportunity to congratulate USA Today for - at least this time around - exposing how he is able to make such a claim.

Introducing the "memorandum".

A presidential memorandum is the same thing and performs the same function as an executive order.  Except it is called a memorandum.  And President Obama likes to use memoranda.  A lot.

Here is USA Today's chart, showing President Obama's use of the memorandum compared to his predecessors:

Well, well, well.  Mr. Obama has used this technique more than any other President. Way more.

And when President Obama's memoranda are added to his executive orders?  Use the link I've provided above, and you will see that he has issued more of them than any President since that other fabled Democrat, Jimmy Carter.

So what we have here is another Obama lie.  A cleverly packaged one, but a lie nonetheless.

Does this man ever tell the truth about anything?

Hopelessly Partisan @ 08:32 AM   1 comment

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A RACIAL HOAX IN SAINT LOUIS

Ken Berwitz

We have another ugly racial situation in the Saint Louis area - which has had more than its share these days.

First we had the shooting and killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; an incident without evidence of any racial component which has been turned into a racist's wonderland.

Then we had the beating and killing of Zemir Begic, a White Bosnian immigrant who was beaten to death by four hammer-wielding Black teenagers.  Although Saint Louis police, at least initially, said that race did not appear to play a part in this killing, many people suspect otherwise...as they do in the Michael Brown case.

And now we have this, as excerpted from Christine Byers' article in the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch:

A Bosnian immigrant has been charged with making a false police report after claiming three black teenagers threatened to kill her in the Bevo Mill neighborhood because of her ethnicity.

Police said Monday that a surveillance video from a nearby business shows Seherzada Dzanic, 26, of the 4400 block of Gannett Street, just get out of her car and lie in the street shortly before a passing driver found her Dec. 5.

Just what Saint Louis - and the rest of the country - needed.

I can hear the rationale argument now: Michael Brown was a thug, Darren Wilson did what he had to do, the autopsy report makes it clear that the stories about Brown surrendering with his hands up or being shot in the back did not happen thus every "witness" who said so was lying, but Brown is now a hero - a civil rights icon - while Wilson will spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder and worrying every time he leaves his newlywed wife alone. Therefore.....

...the second part of this is supposed to be an explanation that Black people had it coming.  As though every Black person is to blame for the Michael Brown/Darren Wilson situation.

Sorry.  I can't buy that.  It is not a reasonable rationale. Not even 1%.  All I see here is that a woman filed a false police report and implicated Black people in a nonexistent crime.  

And, unlike the other two examples, there is no doubt at all that this is racial in nature.

A long time ago, as a student, I lived in Saint Louis for a year.  I have to say I don't envy anyone residence in this star-crossed city right now.  Not for a year, a month, a week or even a day.

Let's all hope that, at some point, things can simmer down and smooth out so people of good will, regardless of color or ethnicity, can simply live their lives in peace.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 17:30 PM   Add Comment

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