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Gender: Male
Hometown: City of Angels
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 6,800

Journal Archives

Trump's new Cuba position provokes anxiety on the island

Donald Trump's threat to undo President Barack Obama's detente with Cuba unless President Raul Castro abides by Trump's list of demands is provoking widespread anxiety among ordinary Cubans, who were paying little attention to the U.S. presidential campaign until now.

Trump had been generally supportive of Obama's reestablishment of diplomatic ties and normalization of relations, saying he thought detente was "fine" although he would have cut a better deal.

Then, in Miami on Friday, the Republican nominee said he would reverse Obama's series of executive orders unless Castro meets demands including "religious and political freedom for the Cuban people and the freeing of political prisoners." Castro said in a speech the following day that Cuba "will not renounce a single one of its principles," reiterating a longstanding rejection of any U.S. pressure.

While Hillary Clinton maintains an electoral college advantage, Cubans are suddenly envisioning the possibility of a U.S. president who would undo measures popular among virtually everyone on the island, from hard-line communists to advocates of greater freedom and democracy.


Boeing receives US license to sell planes to Iran

Source: AFP

Boeing said Wednesday it obtained a US government license to complete a sale of planes to Iran Air, moving closer to the first such deal since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The aerospace group said it remained in talks with Iran Air on a final sales agreement after the two sides reached a preliminary deal in June. The deal is valued at as much as $25 billion.

"Any final sales agreement would have to adhere to the license we've been issued," said Boeing spokesman Mark Sklar.

The June memorandum of understanding covered the sale of 80 planes to Iran Air. Boeing will also lease 29 other planes to Iranian national carrier under the deal.

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/boeing-says-received-us-license-sell-planes-iran-191734887.html

Venezuela bus strike causes traffic chaos in Caracas

Venezuelan bus drivers protesting their country's economic crisis parked their buses in the street on Wednesday, causing traffic chaos in Caracas and embarrassing President Nicolas Maduro, a former colleague.

Hundreds of drivers joined the strike, demanding better pay, more security against violent crime and spare parts for their buses.

Tires, car batteries and motor oil are on a long list of goods that have disappeared in the shortage-racked country.

The protest paralyzed half the bus fleet in the city of three million people, the drivers said.


This presidential candidate seems to want to turn the U.S. into Venezuela

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has her own plan to make America great again. That's turning it into Venezuela.

That, at least, is what her proposal to have the Federal Reserve pay for everybody's student loans and perhaps their healthcare too would do to our economy. Inflation would skyrocket, the dollar would collapse, and the inevitable price controls would create shortages of basic goods. In other words, the full Chavez.

Not that Stein seems to get any of this. Indeed, she thinks that quantitative easing—which is when the Fed buys bonds with freshly-minted dollars—is just "a magic trick that basically people don't need to understand any more than that it is a magic trick." According to her, it "canceled" the "debt of Wall Street" by "essentially writing it off as a digital hat trick." So it's only fair, she says, that we do the same for student loans.

This is wrong. QE didn't buy bonds that the banks owed to other people. It bought bonds that the banks were owed from other people—specifically, homeowners and the U.S. government. Paying a bank $100 for $100 worth of bonds is no more a bailout than paying Starbucks $5 for $5 worth of lattes is. Still, though, Stein's not wrong that there is some magic to this. Just not the kind she thinks. What do I mean by that? Well, when the Fed buys a U.S. Treasury bond from a bank, it turns a debt that the government owed to somebody else into a debt that it owes to itself—so it's like it doesn't exist. QE, then, didn't erase Wall Street's debts, but Uncle Sam's.


In Venezuelan hospital, newborns in cardboard boxes

Photos released by Venezuela's opposition this week show a dramatically different scene than you'd expect to see in a hospital nursery.

The images show newborn babies in cardboard boxes, lined up on a counter.

A hospital employee took the photos, according to the opposition group that released them.

The images purportedly were taken at the government-run Domingo Guzmán Lander Hospital in the coastal city of Barcelona, about 315 kilometers (195 miles) east of Caracas. CNN has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the photos and it is unclear when they were taken.


This powerful video shows Venezuela’s desperate politics of hunger

A woman lies sick in bed as her caretaker taps out a message on her cellphone. It rings in a soldier’s pocket, as he joins the ranks of riot troops facing down an opposition march. The caretaker opens the fridge and finds it bare, and sends another message. The soldier reaches into his pocket to read them, while his commanding officer orders the troops to stop the protest. As the soldier reads the message he looks out at the protesters and sees that they are protesting the same things making his life hell: critical food and medicine shortages, enormous lines, the breakdown of Venezuela’s economy and society.

“Dad,” a voiceover says, “remember that the people you’re sent to beat back are going through the same thing we are. It’s unbearable, you know it.”

The powerful one-minute Web clip hit the Internet on Saturday — and the Venezuelan government responded with fury. By Monday, three of the opposition activists who produced it— Marco Trejo, César Cuellar and James Mathison — were arrested, facing charges in military tribunals for “inciting military rebellion” that could see them spend the next 15 years in jail. Other activists are being sought.

The arrests are just the latest episode in Venezuela’s increasingly rapid descent into a classic police state. News of detentions of regional opposition activists have become routine, as a government that once sold itself as a shining new beacon of enlightened “21st-century socialism” turns to the same types of repressive tactics of its 20th-century counterparts.


Peru brings up Venezuela crisis at U.N., Venezuela swipes back

Peru's president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday he is concerned about what he called the critical economic situation in Venezuela, citing shortfalls of food and medicine, while Venezuela accused him of meddling.

It was the latest in a series of diplomatic blows to the OPEC-member country as it suffers through a major economic crisis with food supplies depleted and triple-digit inflation.

"It is unavoidable that I mention our concern for the very critical political, economic and social situation that our friendly nation of Venezuela is experiencing," Kuczynski said in an official address to the annual gathering of world leaders.

Venezuela's representative to the United Nations, Rafael Ramirez, called Kuczynski's comments "a gratuitous attack."


How Bad Off Is Oil-Rich Venezuela? It’s Buying U.S. Oil

One oil rig was idle for weeks because a single piece of equipment was missing. Another was attacked by armed gangs who made off with all they could carry. Many oil workers say they are paid so little that they barely eat and have to keep watch over one another in case they faint while high up on the rigs.

Venezuela’s petroleum industry, whose vast revenues once fueled the country’s Socialist-inspired revolution, underwriting everything from housing to education, is spiraling into disarray.

To add insult to injury, the Venezuelan government has been forced to turn to its nemesis, the United States, for help.

“You call them the empire,” said Luis Centeno, a union leader for the oil workers, referring to what government officials call the United States, “and yet you’re buying their oil.”


MacOS 10.12 Sierra was just released

So far so good with the download and installation.

Venezuela accuses US of spying on Non-Aligned summit

Venezuela accused the United States on Tuesday of spying on a Non-Aligned Movement summit it recently hosted, saying Venezuelan fighter jets had intercepted a US surveillance plane and forced it to turn back.

President Nicolas Maduro's latest beef with Washington comes after Venezuela hosted leaders from the 120-member group on the Caribbean island of Margarita last weekend, a meeting that featured numerous jabs at US foreign policy.

"We know a military aircraft carried out flight patterns 130 nautical miles from Margarita island, collecting information, carrying out intelligence operations on the summit," said Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez.

He said a US Coast Guard Dash 8 plane was detected near Venezuelan airspace on Friday and Saturday, "flagrantly violating international norms" by failing to announce itself to the Venezuelan military's air traffick controllers.


"Near Venezuelan airspace" is a provocation? Maduro is as full of shit as Trump.
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