In the column that this journalist wrote last week, he opened up by stating that “The time period of 1981 through 1991 was a time of breath-taking change.” 

(There might be those who did not like the conservative nature of that change that transpired in the 1980s, but that is another story to be explored at another time.)

In the United States, former Governor Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as the 40th President of the United States.

At the Vatican in Rome, Italy, Pope John-Paul II was inspiring a new generation of Roman Catholics to cheerfully embrace their faith as “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.”

And in 1979 in London, England, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher – affectionately referred to as “The Iron Lady” – arrived at 10 Downing Street as the new Prime Minister of Great Britain.  Mrs. Thatcher was the first Conservative leader of England since Sir Winston Churchill’s second tenure which ended in 1955.

Prime Minster Thatcher came to 10 Downing Street with a resolve to reverse much of the policies that had been initiated by the British Labor Party from 1945 to 1978.  This was a daunting task!

The preceding 35 years right after the Second World War (WWII) marked a watershed moment in how most of Europe began to see their relationship to their federal or “centralized governments.”  Prior to the end of the WWII most of Europe was still dominated by the economic writings of Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” (1776).

Adam Smith postulated that the “natural system of liberty” (what we currently refer to as the free enterprise system) was by far and away the best means of producing goods, commodities, and national prosperity.  From 1776 through the late 19th Century, Smith’s seminal work on economics was taken as a reliable authority on economic subject matter.

In the early 1900s Great Britain along with many other European nations underwent a paradigm change with regards to their views of how wealth should be “equitably distributed.”  The emphasis moved away from economic / wealth creation to wealth redistribution.  The new mantra of the day was government was responsible for the welfare of its citizens from the “cradle” to the “grave.”

Sir Winston Churchill was a brilliant War Time Prime Minister; however, the citizens of Great Britain rejected the domestic conservatism of Churchill for what was perceived to be the cheery liberalism of Clement Atlee’s Labor Party.

Mr. Atlee proceeded to nationalize Health Care, embrace Keynesian economics, provide for greater governmental control over the economy and strongly back labor unions.  Mr. Atlee and his Labor Party scored impressive electoral wins with both the changes that they enacted and with public opinion behind them it seemed that the era of “progressive politics” meant that their momentum could continue indefinitely.

Well, as the late Paul Harvey would say, “And here is the rest of the story.”

Through the 1960s and 1970s, it appeared that the nation’s taxes continued to expand and that there was no end to “labor shortages” and crippling “labor strikes” that imperiled the spiritual, moral, and economic health of Great Britain.

Yet, through this time of “cradle to the grave” Governmental expansion there arose in Mrs. Margaret Thatcher – the leader of the Conservative opposition – a call for the British people to remember that not all of their problems could be nor should they be solved by their central government.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was a conservative in the mold of the late British philosopher Edmund Burke (please see his 1790 masterpiece “Reflections On the Revolution In France”) who believed that people should pursue their duties and pleasures in a multitude of “little platoons.”

Little platoons would be units of organization such as the family; the extended family; Churches; Synagogues; the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts – 4H Clubs; Rotary Groups; et cetera.  It is in these little platoons that values, principles and belief systems are transmitted and reinforced.

The health and freedom of a society depended on having many little platoons or intermediating structures that act as a barrier to too much central governmental power grabbing over the lives of the citizenry.

Mrs. Thatcher brought her Judeo-Christian and cultural conservative belief system to her country and helped her nation undergo a spiritual, economic, and cultural redivivius.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her people once again became important actors on the world scene – and from an economic perspective the country’s Gross Domestic Output began to grow, expand, and accelerate.  People began to experience a boon in their pocketbooks.

Finally, Europe and the rest of the world owes Mrs. Thatcher a debt of gratitude in the fact that she like President Ronald Reagan across the Atlantic Ocean was a tireless champion of freedom who stood strong against Communist oppression and the expansion of the Soviet Union expansion in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Edmund Burke once stated that “the easiest way for evil to triumph was for good men to do nothing.”

Mrs. Thatcher was a principled-centered stateswomen who stood athwart against the forces of evil, tyranny, and economic stagnation.  She surely deserves her own Profile in Courage.

 

by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

Lefties firmly believe the deceased Hugo Chavez “improved the economy drastically and ameliorated poverty drastically” because GDP went up, and fewer people were living below the poverty line by the time he died last year.

The numbers are there: GDP did go up, and yes, fewer people were listed as living below the poverty line. Whose numbers?

The numbers came from the Venezuelan government.

The International Monetary Fund keeps a List of IMF Member Countries with Delays in Completion of Article IV Consultations or Mandatory Financial Stability Assessments Over 18 Months. As of the writing of this post, Venezuela hasn’t held an Article IV consultation with the IMF in 99 months.

Let me translate that into plain English: The Venezuelan government has not allowed its own numbers to be verified for almost a decade.

It also stopped reporting a number of standard indicators several years ago:

Heavy government spending has fueled rampant inflation, which averaged an annual 22% during Mr. Chávez’s tenure. Its anticapitalist rhetoric and broad state intervention into the economy have led to a dearth of investment. Gross fixed capital formation declined to 18% of gross domestic product in 2011, from 24% in 1999, according to the World Bank. Net inflows of foreign direct investment stood at 2.9% of GDP during that same year, his first in office, nearly double the 1.7% in 2011. Capital flight from Venezuela intensified as Mr. Chávez pursued more interventionist policies, including capital controls and a fixed official exchange rate that — if you can get it — offers dollars at a quarter of the exchange rate that the greenback fetches in the black market. Stock market capitalization of companies listed on the Caracas Stock Exchange has gone from a paltry 7.6% of GDP in 1999 to a minuscule 1.6%.

Rather than pursue policies that might stimulate investment, the government’s response to shrinking productive capacity and high inflation has been price caps. The result? Shortages of food and other basic necessities, periodic electric brown- and blackouts, and far fewer jobs: the labor force participation rate has dropped from 52% to 46% in the Chávez era.

Does that sound like a “drastically improved” economy?

But let’s look at GDP some more, with the numbers that are available: Chavez made the Venezuelan economy increasingly dependent on oil exports. In 1999, oil accounted for 80% of all exports. Back then the Annual Average Domestic Crude Oil Price (AADCOP) was $16.56. By the time of his death last year, the number had risen to 95% at an AADCOP of $91.17. GDP had to go up, if only because all the eggs in that one basket got pricier; even then Chavez didn’t do all that well:

There was strong economic growth from 2004 to 2008 but GDP fell in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2010. From the time Chávez took office in 1999 to 2011 Venezuela’s economy grew by an average of 2.8% per year. During this same period Latin America as a whole grew by 3.3% per year and Brazil grew by 3.4% per year.

While Venezuela’s oil production decreases, Cuba still receives 100,000 barrels of its oil per day.

How about reducing poverty?

According to the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America, the percentage of the population living under the poverty line in Venezuela fell from 49.4% in 1999 to 27.8% in 2010. That is a pretty good record but there were similar trends across Latin America. In the region as a whole poverty dropped from 43.8% in 1999 to 31.8% in 2010. A few countries, like Peru, Brazil and Panama, faired even better than Venezuela. Poverty rates in Peru dropped sharply from 54.7% in 2000 to 31.3% in 2010—all three have solidly capitalistic economies.

There are no verifiable data available on income distribution, but again, according to government numbers

The country now boasts the fairest income distribution in Latin America, as measured by the Gini coefficient index.

In 2011, Venezuela’s Gini coefficient fell to 0.39. By way of comparison, Brazil’s was 0.52, in itself a historic low.

So every Venezuelan now has a more equal slice of the cake. The trouble is, that cake has not been getting much bigger.

“Venezuela is the fifth largest economy in Latin America, but during the last decade, it’s been the worst performer in GDP per capita growth,” says Arturo Franco of the Center for International Development at Harvard University.

The Gini numbers do not include moneys kept by corrupt officials or “Tier II Kingpins” drug lord Cabinet members.

Venezuela ranks 181 out of 189 in the World Bank Economy Rankings.

Chavez’s true legacy is a ruined country with murder rates doubling or tripling over a decade, Communist control of all institutions and media, falling oil production, crumbling infrastructure, a moribund private sector (what little is left of it after the expropriations and nationalizations), soaring inflation, fleeing capital, power outages and food shortages, and now, electronic food rationing cards.

Drastically, yes. Improved, no.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on Latin American and US politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Wednesday and yesterday a pair of tip jar hits moved us to $101 toward our goal of $365 to pay the mortgage and the writers.

After two dismal weeks it’s vital to get those 11 $25 tip jar hits necessary to make the weekly goal to even have an outside chance of making the mortgage this month

We’ve done a lot in the last 10 days from CPAC to NLRC. but it can’t be done without you.

 

With 61 more $20 a month subscribers this site will be able to cover its bills for a full year.

I would ask that you do subscribe by hitting the button below.  If your finances allow it, consider choosing Hat level or better.  A subscription comes not only with exclusive commentary, but on a weekly basis you will have the opportunity to get direct access to me by phone to provide feedback or suggestions to make sure this site is worthy of your financial support and patronage.


 

by baldilocks

For an administration that’s quick to cry racism where black people are concerned, this one is certainly oblivious to stereotypes of other groups.

President Obama on Tuesday sought to assure legal immigrants that they can sign up for ObamaCare without worrying that “the immigration people” will come for family members who are in the country illegally.

In an interview with Univision Deportes, a Spanish-language sports radio show, Obama said immigration officials won’t have access to the personal information that consumers provide when signing up for healthcare on the new exchanges.

“Well, the main thing for people to know is that any information you get, you know, asked with respect to buying insurance, does not have anything to do with … the rules governing immigration,” Obama said. “And you know, you can qualify if you’re a legal resident, if you are … legally present in the United States. You know, if you have a family where some people are citizens or legally here, and others are not documented, the immigration people will never get that information.”

“You know, you will qualify, you know, regardless of what your family’s status is,” Obama said on Tuesday. “So, you know, people should not hold back just because they’re in a mixed-family status.”

The White House has said there are 10.2 million uninsured Hispanics eligible for ObamaCare in the country, and about 8.1 million are likely eligible for tax credits. Hispanics have the highest rate of uninsured of any ethnic group in the country.

More truthful President Obama:

“Come on, people with Spanish last names, just come on and register for Obamacare! I promise I won’t hurt ya. I won’t even toss out your illegal alien relatives. And, we all know of course, that all you people have at least one illegal alien relative.

Baldilocks mini

“Sorry for speaking English.”

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

___________________________

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by baldilocks

When Malaysia Flight 370 went missing and no wreckage could be found, most normal people had quickly figured SkyWorldthis out:

At a press conference today in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak confirmed what many, including Slate, had already inferred about the fate of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: that it had not succumbed to an accident but instead been diverted as a result of “deliberate action by someone on the plane.”

It turns out that Flight 370 flew on for seven hours after contact was lost.

But, some observers are still failing to think outside the box of normalcy.

If the plane landed safely and the passengers weren’t killed, why haven’t we heard any ransom demands? The perps might be covering their tracks, or they might be letting the world media whip themselves into a frenzy.

Ransom demands? Really? That’s so August 2001.

For some set of persons to be bold enough to commandeer a triple-7 should not be so surprising. Isn’t that the very reason that our country has inflicted the TSA on airline passengers in the USA for the last twelve years?

I certainly hope that there are at least a few intelligence agency employees who have more imagination than Slate’s JeffWise.

Here’s what I think:

  • The pilot/co-pilot or both were in on the plan.
  • Many of the passengers were in on it.
  • They all landed safely.
  • Innocent passengers have probably been killed.
  • The perpetrators are planning some creative mayhem with their new triple 7—more creative than 9/11.
  • No one non-Muslim will like it when this plan comes together. This was merely the first phase.

I remember when voicing these kinds of suppositions would elicit labels like conspiracy-theorist and paranoid lunatic. But, then I remember being told that I was out of touch with reality when I called Barack H.Obama a socialist. That was in 2007.

Our new, abnormal world has been long in the making, but it’s still pretty easy for some to hold onto their normalcy bias. That won’t last much longer.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help 

Baldilocks mini

keep her blog alive!

___________________________

If you become one of the 55 3/4 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure

 

 the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis but do so at the $25 level
you can receive one of several Exclusive Original Chris Muir high Res Graphics of the original 

members of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven Gang. like the one on the right

Please specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive) Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight. Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plug the high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog by Chris Muir himself!monthlyGrand Fedora : $100.00USD – monthlyBeanie : $2.00USD – weeklyCap : $10.00USD – monthlyHat : $20.00USD – monthlyFedora : $25.00USD – 

Links.Chainsby baldilocks

Have you noticed that there are some people—many people–who have no concept of time?  No, I’m not referring to the chronically tardy–though I do suspect that many of them are unable to perceive (imagine) time also. I’m talking about those who fall into the following categories:

  • Unable to consider individual events from the past as anything but singular and isolated occurrences, e.g. unable to connect those events with each other and—further–with contemporaneous, on-going events,
  • Unable to use known, available and pertinent information/ideas to analyze the sum (or, to use a better mathematical term, the product) of events in order to come to a plausible conclusion as to what is going, and
  • Unable to take that conclusion and reasonably project what may happen in the future.

Such people are not able to think strategically. It can be selective and temporary dearth; often due to a syndrome to which almost all of us are prone: wishful-thinking.

A related phenomenon: normalcy bias.

[Normalcy bias] causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects.

Many do not want to or cannot put together the events, which have lead this country to its present state, much less come to a reasonable conclusion.  However, I don’t fall into either category.  Believe me, sometimes I wish I did.

But the more I learn about the history of the twentieth century, the more I consider that history against what is known about human nature, the more I observe the state in which this country finds itself in at present–the more I believe that the peril anticipated by all too many observers, was planned.

It is the imperative of all to  face this.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published i

n 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help 

Baldilocks mini

keep her blog alive!

___________________________

If you become one of the 55 3/4 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure

 

 the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis but do so at the $25 level
you can receive one of several Exclusive Original Chris Muir high Res Graphics of the original 

members of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven Gang. like the one on the right

Please specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive) Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight. Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plug the high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog by Chris Muir himself!monthlyGrand Fedora : $100.00USD – monthlyBeanie : $2.00USD – weeklyCap : $10.00USD – monthlyHat : $20.00USD – monthlyFedora : $25.00USD – 

 

 

by baldilocks

As the opposite is so for many of us in America, citizens reared in other countries have little understanding of politics, history, and culture(s) in the USA.  I am in a special place in that my biological father is Kenyan and my siblings from the Old Country have trouble understanding the political opposition to Barack Obama—especially mine. To them, he is of our tribe and our brother who should have our support no matter what.  

Therefore, I am in the process of composing a series of posts meant to help the Kenyan part of my family understand that opposition. I may post them here, but for this particular post, I want to expand on an idea/observation which stems from an encounter I had this morning and, later, try to relate it to the upcoming posts. Call it a preamble.

After waking this morning, I got up, washed my face, brushed my teeth, threw on some clothes, and, without breakfast or coffee, went to get my hair cut (shaved). Black barbershops have a justifiable reputation for being places where real talk occurs and, sometimes, where shouting and anger occur.  Being un-caffeinated, I was in no mood to get into any conversation; much less, a political one with a bunch of liberals, but my barber alerted the room that I was a Republican. So the game was afoot.

Many wonder why black conservatives refuse to talk to black liberals about conservatism. It’s simply this: they won’t STFU long enough to let you complete an idea.  In addition, having to, once again, listen to able-bodied, able-minded, working, responsible, black adults go on about what the “white man” owes “us,” made me want to scream, though I restrained myself.

Being out-numbered 3-1, being talked over multiple times, being insulted more than once, not being allowed to answer proffered questions, and having my actual answers ignored, at some point–out of frustration–I let the “conversation” go. However, I was able to put forth a couple of ideas which I had not completely articulated in the past. One follows in a longer form than I was able to get out earlier today.

Black people—not just those who are American—view white people in the same manner that anti-theists view God. Anti-theists are different from atheists. Even though the former deny God’s existence with their mouths and keyboards, they believe in Him…and they hate Him. Many black people have a similar view of white people: they view all of you as their hated masters–yes, still, in 2014—but their masters, nonetheless. Moreover, as our masters, it is your duty to feed, clothe, and house us; and to give us anything else we ask of you.

As history shows, before the Civil Rights Era, most black Americans were Republicans; now, because of well-crafted strategy implemented by LBJ, et al., most are Democrats. That strategy is based on the real slavery mindset: that whoever provides the most things—whoever is the most generous patron to black people–is a friend to black people.  LBJ knew this; therefore, he strove to transform his party’s image into that of the good and generous patron.

Patron:  5 :  a master in ancient times who freed his slave but retained some rights over him

Even though the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 respectively disallowed patronage and de facto serfdom, the mindset remains embedded in the progeny of the “former” slaves/serfs . Thus, since the CRA, most black Americans have given their allegiance to the Democrat Party and, because of the mindset, they have certain expectations of white Americans—those expected of a patron.

From that notion comes this one: many black liberals believe that black conservatives give their allegiance to the Republican Party for the exact same reason, and that they are, therefore, sell-outs. (Note that, to black liberals, even politics always involves some imagined sale of black persons.) They are unable to view white persons outside of the master/patron/domination paradigm and cannot envision any relationship between black persons and white persons outside of that perspective. Somebody has to be on top. And, in light of our past[i] and our indoctrinated and unacknowledged feelings of inferiority, most black liberals believe it will be you, my white friends.

Most black conservatives have freed themselves from this mindset, but, like all long-term indoctrination, it remains insidious.

Therefore, I conclude this: until the majority of black people get white people out of their heads and begin view you as equals, the shouts of racism will continue, as will the shout-down of the truly emancipated. Freedom begins inside.


[i] The history of enslavement of black Africans begins well before the European and American involvement therein.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

___________________________

If you become one of the 55 3/4 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis but do so at the $25 levelBaldilocks mini
you can receive one of several Exclusive Original Chris Muir high Res Graphics of the original members of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven Gang. like the one on the right

Beanie : $2.00USD – weeklyCap : $10.00USD – monthlyHat : $20.00USD – monthlyFedora : $25.00USD – monthlyGrand Fedora : $100.00USD – monthly

Low res tha lotPlease specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive) Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight. Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plug the high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog by Chris Muir himself!

by Pastor George Kelly

In 1961, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States.

President Kennedy was the first President born in the new century (B. 1917) and at 43 years of age he was the youngest occupant of the White House since Theodore Roosevelt assumed the reigns of the Presidency at age 42 upon the assassination of President William McKinley.

After he was sworn in as President of the United States, John F. Kennedy gave a stirring inaugural address in which he stated that the United States was committed to the cause of liberty around the globe. Here is a small sampling of his address (paragraphs 2, 4, 5, and 6):

“The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge—and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.”

The essential question for those of us living today is this: Do we really believe in the basic premises in which the late President stated in his stirring inaugural?

In paragraph two (2) of his address, the late President averred that the world was locked in a contest between two very different set of ideas. One belief system places confidence in the ability of individuals to make their own decisions outside of state / government encroachment; this worldview also possesses as a concomitant belief that all human liberty derives its origins “not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.”

Do we share this heartfelt conviction that ultimately our rights come “from the hand of God?”

President Kennedy made his remarks in a world that was split between two Superpowers – the United States and the Soviet Union – which held diametrically opposed worldviews. Much of Eastern Europe existed under either totalitarian regimes or authoritarian governments.

Paradoxically, the 20th century was an age of both War & Wonder. There were breathtaking advances in the field of Science and at the same time the world experienced two world wars in which more than 60 to 80 million or more people perished!

In the aftermath of the Second World War (WWII), the threat of nuclear war hovered over the NATO (United States led) countries and over the Soviet Warsaw pact nations. The threat of nuclear annihilation forced the two great powers to communicate.

Ultimately the NATO nations prevailed in their protracted struggle against the Soviet Union and their atheistic totalitarianism as the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations dissolved; many of the Warsaw pact nations became free autonomous states. It appeared that just perhaps the old Soviet Union (Russia today) and the United States might learn to live in a peaceful and harmonious co-existence.

Hopeful?

Best desired end?

Best Wishes?

Whimsical thinking?

The recent events that transpired in both Crimea and the Ukraine in the past several days make our desires for peace with Russia appear to be a little on the side of “whimsical thinking.”

The current Russian President Vladimir Putin was a former KGB agent in his past career. Mr. Putin once remarked that he felt that the dissolution of the former Soviet Union was one of the worst catastrophes to ever occur in history.

How should the United States and the family of free nations view a man with this type of thinking?

Perhaps a look again at the words from President Kennedy’s inaugural address might point the way forward in our dealings with not only Mr. Putin – but with other authoritarian leaders and potential hotspots such as – China, North Korea, and Syria.

President Kennedy forcefully stated that “the resolve of the United States as a force for good on the world scene must not waver!”

The skeptic will remark – with great accuracy – that our nation cannot intervene in every hotspot or crisis around the globe. Furthermore, since 9/11, the American people show signs of being both “war weary” and “battle fatigued” (Afghanistan and Iraq).

Nevertheless, while we cannot intervene in every world crisis, we must prioritize the potential “hotspots and crises” in the world and assess them according to our Strategic, National, and Vital interests (The Real War – Richard Nixon).

Assistance to our friends in the Ukraine is in our “Strategic Interests.”

Let us assure our friends in the Ukraine – who surrendered their “nuclear arms” in exchange for joining the family of free nations in the early 1990s that the words of President Kennedy still ring true today 53 years later:

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Friday and with only 48 hours to go to the end of my payweek my prospect for securing said pay appear bleak.

Not only am I nearly $250 shy of a full pay but this will put me in a hole for the March Mortgage that will require a really big week to dig me out of later.

So I must come to you fedora in hand saying, if you think the writing provided by My Magnificent Seven and myself is worth it and you find my CPAC coverage & interviews worthwhile please hit DaTipJar for what you can.

You my readers are the difference between the success or the failure of this enterprise I ask you to hit DaTipJar and help me succeed.

Now there is another reason to kick in on a more permanent way

DaGuy low rez copy-psd

Under normal circumstance an event with 10,000 potential subscribers should be a goldmine for my quest to pick up 61 more, however I am not in a position to solicit CPAC attendees in this way. (Though I just got a creative Idea as I’m typing this that I might try today or tomorrow.)

In case my cunning plan fails please consider being a subscriber. 61 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of Da Magnificent Seven and my mortgage meaning each month.


This will not only allow the blog to grow & prosper but will give me the peace of mind each month of knowing that the mortgage will be paid without dipping into the savings reserves that have been depleted though the Obama years.

It’s your call.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

I can not attend CPAC this year, but have been paying attention to the speakers; yesterday Senator Marco Rubio’s speech on American exceptionalism defined America’s post-Obama foreign policy, as Mediate rightfully said:

He defined the threats he warned that the United States will face in the near future and defined current and long-term America’s economic challenges in terms relating to the preservation of free trade guaranteed by American military and diplomatic strength.

All the threats come from totalitarian regimes, regimes who do not respect their citizens’ God-given rights: “Any government and any leader who violates those rights is an illegitimate one.”

Rubio asserted that “America must be involved in leading the world”. “There is only one nation on earth capable of rallying and bringing together the free people on this planet to stand up to the spread of totalitarianism. The United Nations cannot do this. In fact, they cannot do anything.”

“If you think high taxes and regulations are bad for our economy, so is global instability and the spread of totalitarianism,” Rubio continued. “What we have in America is the exception, not the rule, in human history. Almost everyone who has ever lived on this planet didn’t’ get to choose their leaders, and they didn’t get to choose their life either.”

Ed Morrissey:

Rubio nails it on foreign policy, and in a way explains why the Obama administration fell into the trap of their own arrogance. Barack Obama campaigned on “hope and change,” and later implied (if not quite stated outright) that he was the change and the hope. The administration seemed to have bought its own hype. The mere fact of his election was supposed to argue that America had already fundamentally changed, and that all that was needed to get imperial-oriented nations like China and Russia to see the light was a reset button or two.

That’s the “fantasy” world inhabited by the Obama administration, as the Washington Post described it last weekend. Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry all seem to believe that just talking about change and hope will mean that nations run by power-seeking leaders will suddenly embrace Utopianism, because — as Kerry explicitly said — that’s the right side of history, and the geopolitical manipulations of Russia and China are on “the wrong side of history.” There is absolutely no evidence for that claim, except for their own declarations that it’s so.

Video of the full spech:

Memeorandum thread.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on Latin American and USA politics and culture at Fausta’s blog.

by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan

found that New York lawyer Steven Donziger and his litigation team engaged in coercion, bribery, money laundering and other misconduct aimed at securing a 2011 verdict against the company in Ecuador.

The judge concluded that Mr. Donziger and his team fabricated evidence, promised $500,000 to an Ecuadorean judge to rule in their favor, ghostwrote much of the final verdict in the case and took other actions that “perverted” the course of justice.

In the 2011 lawsuit, Chevron accused Donziger and Ecuadorian plaintiffs of fraud and racketeering in the 2003 Lago Agrio trial that resulted in a US$19billion verdict against Chevron, which had never operated in Ecuador but had inherited an environmental clean-up case when Chevron acquired Texaco in 2001. (The Wall Street Journal has a timeline, and you can read the 500-page Kaplan ruling here.)

Last November Ecuador reduced the $19 billion to $9 billion.

The Aguarico-4 site became a favorite cause among celebrities like Sting, Danny Glover, Cher, Daryl Hannah and Mia Farrow (who on January 27 tweeted that she was “in Equador to check out the toxic #mess left by Texaco-#Chevron” but appears to have deleted that tweet and turned her attention to other matters). These same celebrities have nothing to say about tribal warfare in the Amazon killing hundreds of people, the government’s war against freedom expression, and China’s control of Ecuador’s oil.

The government of Ecuador gives tours to the site, which is actually owned by its own oil company, Petroecuador.

Chevron is right to continue to fight the (now) $9 billion judgement.

I expect that Donziger will appeal: Jack Fowler reported in late January that

Donziger has cobbled a fourth legal defense team, led by Deepak Gupta, who will be assisted by University of Denver Law School professors Justin Marceau and John Campbell.

Judge Kaplan probably expects him to, also, considering his 500-page decision plus 89-page appendix.

Judge Kaplan points out that Donziger is a master at public relations, and Donziger’s strategy of a media campaign “shifting the focus from the fraud on Chevron and the Lago Agrio court to the environmental harm that Donziger [and the plaintiffs] claim was done” will most likely continue.

Over in US, however, the Chevron Case Helped Wreck a Big Law Merger between Patton Boggs of Washington, DC, and Locke Lord of Texas,

Chevron has filed a counterclaim against Patton Boggs in the case, and two sources familiar with the matter told The Am Law Daily that the firm’s potential liabilities on that front contributed to Locke Lord’s decision to call off merger talks.

Last month Locke Lord managing partner Jerry Clements told The Am Law Daily that the potential liabilities and “reputational aspects” of the Chevron matter were a key part of her firm’s due diligence efforts in evaluating a merger with Patton Boggs.

“Reputational aspects” indeed.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on Latin American and US politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog. You can read her posts on the Chevron case here.

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by baldilocks

Only soft-handed Marxists natter on about the “right” or “wrong side of history.” Countries like Poland, however, have been battered by real Marxism and proceed accordingly.

NATO allies will hold emergency talks on the crisis in Ukraine on Tuesday, for the second time in three days, following a request from Poland, the alliance said on Monday.

In calling the meeting, Poland, a neighbor of Ukraine, invoked a NATO rule allowing any ally to consult with the others if it feels its security, territorial integrity or independence are under threat, the so-called Article 4.

“The developments in and around Ukraine are seen to constitute a threat to neighboring Allied countries and having direct and serious implications for the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area,” the alliance said in a statement.

Emphasis mine; Poland knows Russia well.

There’s the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, under which Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Stalin’s USSR agreed to split up Poland.[i]

There’s the Katyn Massacre. Originally attributed to the Nazis, it was actually perpetrated by the NKVD (Soviet Secret Police); the USSR admitted to the massacre in 1990.

And there’s the Warsaw Pact. Allegedly it was formed counter as counter to NATO and as a “Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance” between the USSR and eight other eastern European countries, including Poland. But, as is well-known,  it was de facto enslavement of those countries by Soviet masters.

But Poland doesn’t even have to look to the previous century find reasons to be suspicious of Russia and its goals.

Recall the scrapped agreement for the missile shield technology  for Poland and the Czech Republic. It had been promised by George W. Bush, opposed by Vladimir Putin, and, in the end, was reneged on by Barack H. Obama.  And recall that the turnabout was announced on September 18, 2009—the seventieth anniversary of the day on which Hitler and Stalin carried out their designs on Poland.

And let’s not forget what happened to the Polish leadership in 2010.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and some of the country’s highest military and civilian leaders died on Saturday when the presidential plane crashed as it came in for a landing in thick fog in western Russia, killing 96, officials said.

(…)

Russian and Polish officials said there were no survivors on the 26-year-old Tupolev, which was taking the president, his wife and staff to events marking the 70th anniversary of the [Katyn] massacre of thousands of Polish officers by Soviet secret police.

This grimly ironic accident is still being questioned.

Our leadership and many other observers may not be taking into account—or even be familiar with—the history of this abusive relationship, but it would be safe to bet that the Poles had it in mind when they decided to make their appeal to NATO.

This is not to say that the United States should intervene on behalf of Ukraine. Even if our mandate to do so were morally and politically clear-cut, in the wake of the hollowing out of this nation–militarily, economically, socially, and, most importantly, in the leadership sphere–we are simply not able to help Ukraine or any other nation.

But while the President of the United States continually provides negative examples of an observation made by King Solomon in Proverbs, Poland looks at Ukraine, scrutinizes its own history and soberly ponders reality. Please, God, let there be a few more sober realists in the USA!

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Lithuania invokes Article 4 as well.


[i] In his actions concerning Georgia and Ukraine, Russian president Vladimir Putin has borrowed a strategy from both Stalin and Hitler: both claimed that their attack on Poland was to protect ethnic Ukrainians, Belarusians and Germans in the country—a pretext, to be sure.

Putin used a similar justification, with respect to ethnic Russians living in the Republic of Georgia, for the Russo-Georgian War of 2008, which resulted in the “independence” of formerly Georgian provinces Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Both provinces “had been functioning for 15 years outside Georgian control, their de facto independence guaranteed by Russian peacekeeping troops.” Putin is using this same strategy at present as justification for Russia’s incursion into Ukraine–an old form of ethnic cleansing.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!