Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Does foreign policy matter? Obama’s appeasement policy comes with a cost

Obama shakes hands with communist dictator Castro

Obama shakes hands with communist dictator Castro

Just a quick rundown of the foreign policy news that just ruined my day.

Investors Business Daily:

Just as its patron Venezuela hit the rocks, Cuba got a last-minute rescue from none other than President Obama, who announced a Santa Claus-like package of wish-list goodies for the Castro brothers. Why?

In many ways, President Obama’s announced plan to normalize relations with Cuba, lift the embargo, extend trade credits and remove Cuba from the state sponsors of terror list is about on par with the rest of his foreign policy.

It was done by executive order without consulting Congress, just like last month’s decision to temporarily legalize 5 million illegal immigrants.

It was justified by a claim the U.S. embargo was “not working,” comparable to Obama’s claim the U.S. immigration system is “broken.” In reality, the problem in both cases is that of a halfhearted willingness to enforce the law, rendering it full of holes.

As for the hostage swap in the bargain, that of U.S. Agency for International Development subcontractor Alan Gross and another U.S. agent for three professional Cuban intelligence officers linked to the murder of U.S. citizens in the 1996 Brothers to the Rescue shootdown, it was a deal that gave far more than it got, just like the hostage swap with the Taliban of U.S. army deserter Bowe Bergdahl for five terrorists.

[…]One is the strange timing of the announcement, coming just as Venezuela and other nations ruled by petrotyrants are on the verge of collapse.

Venezuela has played sugar daddy to Cuba for years, shipping 100,000 barrels of free oil to the communist state. It can no longer afford to. Rather than use that as leverage, Obama rescued Cuba despite its repressive human rights record. That’s one odd bailout.

And the bailout won’t be free for U.S. taxpayers.

Obama administration officials have said they are moving swiftly to extend trade credits to Cuba so the $483 million in American goods Cuba now pays for in cash can expand further, thanks to taxpayer-supported U.S. ExImBank trade credits.

In effect, we’ve handed the odious Castro brothers Uncle Sam’s credit card. Given that the Castroites have defaulted on all of their trading partners since 1961, to the tune of at least $70 billion, it’s assumed the Castros, having no sustainable economic model, will eventually default on us too.

Washington Post:

IN RECENT months, the outlook for the Castro regime in Cuba was growing steadily darker. The modest reforms it adopted in recent years to improve abysmal economic conditions had stalled, due to the regime’s refusal to allow Cubans greater freedoms. Worse, the acceleratingeconomic collapse of Venezuela meant that the huge subsidies that have kept the Castros afloat for the past decade were in peril. A growing number of Cubans were demanding basic human rights, such as freedom of speech and assembly.

On Wednesday, the Castros suddenly obtained a comprehensive bailout — from the Obama administration. President Obama granted the regimeeverything on its wish list that was within his power to grant; a full lifting of the trade embargo requires congressional action. Full diplomatic relations will be established, Cuba’s place on the list of terrorism sponsors reviewed and restrictions lifted on U.S. investment and most travel to Cuba. That liberalization will provide Havana with a fresh source of desperately needed hard currency and eliminate U.S. leverage for political reforms.

[…]No wonder Yoani Sánchez, Cuba’s leading dissident blogger, concluded Wednesday that “Castroism has won” and predicted that for weeks Cubans will have to endure proclamations by the government that it is the “winner of its ultimate battle.”

[…]Mr. Obama says normalizing relations will allow the United States to be more effective in promoting political change in Cuba. That is contrary to U.S. experience with Communist regimes such as Vietnam, where normalization has led to no improvements on human rights in two decades. Moreover, nothing in Mr. Obama’s record of lukewarm and inconstant support for democratic change across the globe can give Ms. Sánchez and her fellow freedom fighters confidence in this promise.

The Vietnam outcome is what the Castros are counting on: a flood of U.S. tourists and business investment that will allow the regime to maintain its totalitarian system indefinitely. Mr. Obama may claim that he has dismantled a 50-year-old failed policy; what he has really done is give a 50-year-old failed regime a new lease on life.

We lost our diplomatic leverage by propping up a communist regime.

But maybe communism is working well for the middle class and the poor in Cuba? Is it?

City Journal:

Marxists have ruled Cuba for more than a half-century now. Fidel Castro, Argentine guerrilla Che Guevara, and their 26th of July Movement forced Fulgencio Batista from power in 1959 and replaced his standard-issue authoritarian regime with a Communist one. The revolutionaries promised liberal democracy, but Castro secured absolute power and flattened the country with a Marxist-Leninist battering ram. The objectives were total equality and the abolition of money; the methods were total surveillance and political prisons. The state slogan, then and now, is “socialism or death.”

[…]Cuba has a maximum wage—$20 a month for almost every job in the country. (Professionals such as doctors and lawyers can make a whopping $10 extra a month.) Sure, Cubans get “free” health care and education, but as Cuban exile and Yale historian Carlos Eire says, “All slave owners need to keep their slaves healthy and ensure that they have the skills to perform their tasks.”

[…]The police expend extraordinary manpower ensuring that everyone required to live miserably at the bottom actually does live miserably at the bottom. Dissident blogger and author Yoani Sánchez describes the harassment sarcastically in her book Havana Real: “Buses are stopped in the middle of the street and bags inspected to see if we are carrying some cheese, a lobster, or some dangerous shrimp hidden among our personal belongings.” Perhaps the saddest symptom of Cuba’s state-enforced poverty is the prostitution epidemic—a problem the government officially denies and even forbids foreign journalists based in Havana to mention. Some Cuban prostitutes are professionals, but many are average women—wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers—who solicit johns once or twice a year for a little extra money to make ends meet.

[…]Citizens who take public transportation to work—which includes almost everyone, since Cuba hardly has any cars—must wait in lines for up to two hours each way to get on a bus. And commuters must pay for their ride out of their $20 a month. At least commuter buses are cheap. By contrast, a one-way ticket to the other side of the island costs several months’ pay; a round-trip costs almost an annual salary.

[…]As for the free health care, patients have to bring their own medicine, their own bedsheets, and even their own iodine to the hospital. Most of these items are available only on the illegal black market, moreover, and must be paid for in hard currency—and sometimes they’re not available at all. Cuba has sent so many doctors abroad—especially to Venezuela, in exchange for oil—that the island is now facing a personnel shortage.

[…][A]lmost everyone in Havana lives in a Detroit-style wreck, with caved-in roofs, peeling paint, and doors hanging on their hinges at odd angles.

[…]Even things as simple as cooking oil and soap are black-market goods. Individuals who, by some illegal means or another, manage to acquire such desirables will stand on street corners and whisper “cooking oil” or “sugar” to passersby, and then sell the product on the sly out of their living room. If they’re caught, both sellers and buyers will be arrested, of course, but the authorities can’t put the entire country in jail. “Everyone cheats,” says Eire. “One must in order to survive.

When Barack Obama uses American taxpayer money to prop up communism, he keeps this system going. The only solution is for the people to revolt against communism, but when he hands money to the government, they buy more guns and keep the people down in poverty and squalor while the rich communist elites rule over them. It’s evil.

Meanwhile, North Korea is able to attack our private industry without even a peep from cowardly Obama and his retreat from Iraq now allows Islamic State terrorists to execute 150 captured women, many of them pregnant, who refused to become “wives” to the terrorists. Any husbands they had would have been shot right in front of them. There is only one way to do something about these problems in the world and that’s with a strong U.S. military, strong sanctions and tough negotiations. Obama has failed these victims in every way because of his approval of the evildoers and his rejection of our democratic allies. We need to have more confidence in the goodness of American power and the American way of life.

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After synagogue attack, Obama urges both terrorists and Israelis to “be calm”

The Weekly Standard reports on Obama’s reaction to the latest terrorist attack against Jews in Israel:

After a Palestinian terror attack that killed [five] in Israel, President Barack Obama is calling for both sides to be calm. “Too many Israelis have died; too many Palestinians have died. At this difficult time I think it’s important for both Palestinians and Israelis to try to work together to lower tensions and reject violence,” said President Obama, according to the White House pool report.

The death toll is now 5, according to the Washington Post. How is it possible that the President would do the equivalent of urging a woman who has been raped and her rapist to not rape each other any more? Well, there are no more elections, so the faked support for our allies is really coming off. Hamas has not claimed responsibility, but Palestinians are celebrating the attack.

Obama wasn’t done, though. He had something brilliant to say about the recent beheading of an American by Islamic State.

Breitbart reports:

Returning from his trip to Asia, President Obama issued a statement reacting to the beheading of U.S. aid worker Peter Kassig by Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) terrorists.

Kassig, a convert to Islam, took the name Abdul-Rahman and was captured and held hostage by members of ISIS a year ago.

“ISIL’s actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own,” Obama wrote.

The actions of “Islamic State” don’t represent the Islamic faith. David Wood begs to differ, and explains the 10 most essential verses for understanding ISIS / Islamic State.

Is Obama aware of these verses? Or are his comments just more “you can keep your doctor”, “you can keep your health plan” rhetoric?

Republicans react

Meanwhile, Indian-American governor Bobby Jindal had his own opinion of the terrorist attack on a synagogue.

He said:

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, will soon release this statement responding to the terror attack in Jerusalem.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families after this evil attack on a place of worship,” the statement reads.

“An attack on a synagogue shows that there are no bounds for terrorists. These are people depraved of any humanity in their hearts, and they must not only be stopped, they must be exterminated.

“Unfortunately, Israel is no stranger to these types of attacks. That’s why we must always stand with our close friend and ally, condemn the act of terror and defend their right to defend themselves.

That’s quite different than what Obama said, isn’t it? And that’s the difference between the two parties right there.

 

 

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As record cold and snow hits US, Obama set to solve global warming by executive action

First, it looks like the Midwest is going to be hit with unexpectedly large amounts of snow and record cold.

Fox News reports.

Excerpt:

Residents across the Rockies and Upper Midwest dug out from under a foot or more of snow on Tuesday, after waking up to frigid temperatures that plunged as much as 50 degrees overnight. The rest of the Midwest and the East are expecting a dose of the icy weather later this week thanks to a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend.

[…]Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was buried under more than 14 inches of snow — with at least another foot expected before the storm moves out Wednesday. As much as 13 inches of snow fell in northern Wisconsin, while some Minnesotans awoke to 15 inches of fresh powder, with more snow expected.

The weather prompted school closures across the region, including at Northern Michigan University. Multimedia journalism student Mikenzie Frost said she was headed out the door to figure skating practice early Tuesday when she got a text from the school saying classes were cancelled.

[…]The blast of frigid air crawled all the way to the Texas Panhandle, where temperatures tumbled overnight from the 70s into the teens. In Oklahoma City, where Monday’s high was 80 degrees, the low Tuesday morning was 30 degrees — a 50-degree drop — while similar balmy weather in Missouri was replaced by temperatures in the 20s, along with a light dusting of snow.

The region’s coldest temperatures hit the Dakotas, where single-digit temperatures — already about 30 degrees below normal — came with frigid wind chills dipped into the negative 20s in Dickinson, North Dakota.

[…]Residents of Glenrock, Wyoming, aren’t as lucky. More than 1,000 buildings in the town lost service because of a pipeline problem, and temperatures were hovering between zero and 5 degrees in some parts of the state.

In Colorado, temperatures fell into the teens — about 20 to 30 degrees below normal — where they’re expected to stay through Thursday, prompting officials to move a Veteran’s Day ceremony indoors in Denver.

[…]Roads in parts of northern Michigan were in “very poor condition,” with 2 to 3 inches of snow falling an hour on Tuesday morning, National Weather Service meteorologist Justin Titus said. But there were no delays reported Tuesday at Sawyer International Airport in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport saw the brunt of the cancellations and delays Monday, with about 175 cancellations, while about 19 had been cancelled Tuesday out of hundreds of flights, according to the airport.

Elsewhere in Minnesota, the State Patrol said at least two people were killed in accidents on icy roads, and troopers handled 475 crashes and more than 700 spinouts statewide by Monday evening. In eastern Wisconsin, snow-covered roads were blamed for a school bus crash that sent the driver and an aide to a hospital, WBAY-TV reported.

This sounds like January or February weather, so what is it doing here in early November?

The radically leftist Politico has some news about Obama’s response to this global warming, now that the midterm elections are over.

Excerpt:

The Obama administration is set to roll out a series of climate and pollution measures that rivals any president’s environmental actions since George H.W. Bush signed a rewrite of the Clean Air Act in 1990 — a reality check for Republicans who think last week’s election gave them a mandate to end what they call the White House’s “War on Coal.”

Tied to court-ordered deadlines, legal mandates and international climate talks, the efforts scheduled for the next two months show that President Barack Obama is prepared to spend the remainder of his term unleashing sweeping executive actions to combat global warming. And incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have few options for stopping the onslaught, though Republicans may be able to slow pieces of it.

The coming rollout includes a Dec. 1 proposal by EPA to tighten limits on smog-causing ozone, which business groups say could be the costliest federal regulation of all time…

[…]On top of all that, the administration is expected in the coming weeks to pledge millions of dollars — and possibly billions — to help poor countries deal with the effects of climate change.

Now one thing people need to understand is that any kind of tax increase or burdensome regulation costs businesses money, and they pay for these setbacks by laying off workers and/or raising prices and/or shipping jobs overseas. In fact, environmental regulations are exactly the kind of thing that would cause companies to outsource and offshore their operations.

The Washington Times re-caps Obama’s record on energy policy.

Excerpt:

President Obama has intentionally hamstrung domestic energy production under the delusional theory that the U.S. economy can thrive on so-called green power. As Mideast turmoil threatens the oil supply, the price of domestic crude has jumped above $100 a barrel and gas at the pump now exceeds $3.46 a gallon. This shows just how dangerous the Obama administration’s economic and energy policies can be to our wallets.

There can be no doubt that the president took deliberate action to block access to the nation’s energy resources. A federal judge recently found the Interior Department in contempt for ignoring his order overturning the oil-drilling moratorium the administration imposed following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. On Feb. 22, Judge Martin Feldman upped the pressure by insisting that the department act on five pending permits within 30 days. Permits that would, under normal circumstances, be processed in two weeks have been ignored for four to nine months. “Not acting at all is not a lawful option,” Judge Feldman wrote. The department had no choice but to issue the first permit since the spill on Feb. 28.

Interior pinned the blame for delays on technical problems. Yet, as the department dithered, oil companies atrophied and employees lost work. According to a study released in January by the business alliance Greater New Orleans, Inc., the moratorium cost Louisiana about 25,000 jobs. Houston-based Seahawk Drilling, the most recent victim of the drilling ban, announced Feb. 18 that it had filed for bankruptcy and agreed to a buyout from a competitor. The jobs of the company’s 494 employees are in jeopardy, according to USA Today.

All this activity to stop global warming, which John Kerry considers to be a bigger threat than terrorism, even though we have had no global warming for the last 18 years.

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Republican senator Tim Scott pushes school choice in MSNBC interview

I managed to find some of the transcript here on Newsbusters.

Let Tim Scott explain it:

THOMAS ROBERTS: This is Thomas Roberts by the way. You said you are concerned about kids that growing up in the wrong zip code and — like yourself that had a tough start on the way out. But if we look at agencies that are following some of your voting records, they have concern. And the NAACP has given you an “F” on their annual scorecard. They also say that you voted against the ACA. You voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. You oppose the Congressional Black Caucus’ budget. Delayed funding on a settlement between the U.S. and black farmers who say they were prejudiced against because of their race. So how do you respond to that, if your true concern is about lower-income families and kids? 

TIM SCOTT: Let’s just ask ourselves if we look back over history when the congress was controlled by the Democrats for 40 consecutive years. If we look at the result of that control, what has happened in black America? We saw greater poverty. If we take statistics from the 1970s to the 21st-century, what we see very clearly is that poverty’s gone from 11% to 15%. These are classic examples of the policies of the left have not worked. I will tell you, that if I have an “F” on the NAACP scorecard, it’s because I believe progress has to be made and the government is not the answer for progress. I was a kid growing up in poverty. I had a mentor who was a Chick-fil-A operator named John Moniz who taught me that the brilliance of the American economy happens through business ownership and entrepreneurial spirit. So whether you own the business or not, success is possible if you, a: have a good education, b: have a strong work ethic. For the average person who can work. These two key components come together and form a foundation. That is the way that you eradicate poverty. All the social programs that we’ve had. We have the largest government we’ve ever had in the history of the country. We have more nonprofit organizations working on the same issue. And yet we have higher percentage of people living in poverty. The key it seems like is individual freedom and economic opportunity, fusing those together in an agenda that focuses on education seems to leave forward.

Elsewhere in the interview, he talks about how Indian-American Republican Governor Bobby Jindal has pushed hard for vouchers for the poor in Louisiana, and how the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship voucher program helped the poorest black students to get a quality education – even though Barack Obama opposed it as a favor to their public sector union bosses.

See, here’s the deal. If Republicans want to get serious about winning the votes of poor people and minorities, they don’t have to pass policies that discriminate against the wealthy or against whites. They just have to pass good policies. It shouldn’t matter what color anybody’s skin is. School choice is a police that disproportionately benefits the poor and minorities, but it doesn’t discriminate. You just hand money to the parents whose children are stuck in an underperforming public school, and then the parents decide where to send their child. This is better than forcing parents to have to send their kids to a failing public school. It is not right for a child to be handed a garbage education just because lazy unionized Democrats don’t want to face competition from private schools. Kids come first!

Let’s learn about school choice from the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation.

Cato Institute:

The Heritage Foundation:

Awesome!

This is how you build Republican  voters and do the right thing at the same time. Republicans like to help the poor. But we also like to screw the public sector unions. Private unions are fine – public sector unions are poisonous. We have to destroy them and save the children, at the same time. Everybody wins! Well, except the Democrats.

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Only 18% of Americans think race relations have improved under President Obama

The IBD/TIPP poll was the most accurate in the 2012 presidential election, and now they found out something about race relations under President Obama.

Excerpt:

Our latest poll suggests that far from healing America’s racial wounds, the first black president has reopened them. Obama the uniter is actually the great divider.

By an almost 3-1 margin, Americans say race relations have worsened under the man who was supposed to usher in a golden era of “post-racial” relations.

Six years after electing the nation’s first black president, a stunning 46% in the new IBD/TIPP Poll draw that conclusion compared to 18% who don’t. Nearly one in four believe race relations have gotten “much worse” under President Obama, while 35% say they’ve stayed the same.

The results corroborate a long-running poll on racial attitudes conducted by Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies since 1994. It records the steepest decline in positive views occurring over the last three years.

Who can blame Americans for thinking the nation is more divided along racial lines?

When our poll was taken in late October, respondents heard news that authorities in St. Louis are bracing for more senseless riots. Black street agitators bussed in from Chicago are spoiling for a race war, egged on by an attorney general who’s tried to convince African-Americans that white cops like Darren Wilson are gunning for them, despite forensic and other evidence refuting such garbage.

These polls also reflect campaign attack ads showing Obama-yoked Democrats resorting to shameless race-baiting in the final days of a congressional election that promises to repudiate them and their party leader.

People like me on the center right have been talking about policy failures, cover-ups and other mistakes for years since the Democrats took power, and yet the only response we ever get from Democrats is to be called “racists”. Very curious in my case, since I have darker skin than Obama, and no white parents. In fact, if I ever met the man, I’d be sure to reply to all his criticisms of my views by calling him a racist. I think that’s how Democrats talk.

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