Friday Quick Takes

News of note from the last week, from Thinking Man’s Politics…

Palestinian ‘Days of Rage’

Yesterday, President Trump announced that the US was moving its Israel embassy to Jerusalem after declaring that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. Hamas and other Palestinian groups announced that they would hold “three days of rage” in protest.

Hamas has declared that their goal is the elimination of Israel as a nation and dedicated itself to the killing of Jews. Tell me how again the ‘three days of rage” are going to be different than any other day?

Penalties for Defrauding Customers–Wells Fargo

President Trump took to Twitter today to knock down rumors that US consumer finance agency was reviewing fines levied against Wells Fargo for abuse of mortgage lending laws and opening bogus accounts.

In his tweet, the President said “I will cut regs but make penalties severe when caught cheating!”

Wells Fargo had been found to, among other things, reward its employees for new accounts which resulted in thousands of new accounts being opened by employees in customer’s names but without customer’s knowledge.

When large companies and their leaders have no consequence for their actions, then those actions are repeated (see bank bailouts).  Wells Fargo should not only pay but so should the leadership that knowingly defrauded their customers.

Finally, the Powerful Held Accountable

Former US Representative Corrine Brown was sentenced to five years in prison this week for multiple counts of fraud after setting up a charity to provide education for low income children and then using it as a personal slush fund.

Brown, who has faced ethics charges throughout her career, represented one of the poorest districts in Florida. Yet somehow she had no problem stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from her low income constituents to fund her vacations and lavish lifestyle.

The Bible and almost every major religion comments on rich people who take from the poor. May Corrine Brown feel the weight of her actions.

We Can’t Figure Out Birth Certificates?

A judge in Arkansas today said the state could no longer issue birth certificates until the state and same sex couples worked out an agreement on how to conform to Supreme Court rulings.

I’m sure that I don’t get all the nuances of this particular case and I’m sure somehow it involves who is a ‘husband and wife’, but how have we gotten to the place that even issuing a birth certificate is controversial? It just can’t be that hard. No matter what the ‘PC police’ say, you can’t change basic biology and a birth still requires two people of opposite sex.

Sometimes Things That Sound Good Are Dangerous

Internationalists, those who think the best way to world peace is by giving up our national rights and decision-making to international organizations, had another reason to be ashamed last week.  And we all had another reason to be leery of international groups that ‘support peace and cooperation’. Continue reading “Sometimes Things That Sound Good Are Dangerous”

Talking Turkey

Most Americans probably know little about Turkey, yet it is one of the most important members of NATO.  It was a key ally throughout the Cold War, bordering the Soviet Union.  Turkey was important enough that as a condition for removing missiles from Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union got the US to restrict what planes and weapons it based in Turkey.

And Turkey may be even more important now.  Turkey is the only Muslim-majority member of NATO and it borders Syria, Iraq and Iran. Continue reading “Talking Turkey”

“We Will Always Have Paris”…But Should We?

For ardent environmentalists, the topic of ‘climate change’ is one of the most impassioned areas of political thought. It has become a position held with religious zealotry in certain circles, with adherence to a strict dogma and any thought of opposition to the fundamental belief is considered almost blasphemous. It is considered by passionate adherents to be ‘science’ and even the slightest disagreement is a sign of ignorance and analogous to believing the earth is flat.

It is not surprising, then, that President Trump caused quite a controversy when he announced yesterday that he was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Treaty,

So what is the debate and why would the President pull the largest economic power in the world out of the Treaty? To fully answer that question, we have to look at the overall issue of ‘climate change’ and then at the Paris Treaty itself. Let’s take these in order. Continue reading ““We Will Always Have Paris”…But Should We?”

Socialism and the Poor in Venezuela

Hugo Chavez took power in Venezuela in 1999, on promises to do more to help the country’s poor.  He brought a growing snowball of socialist economic policies with him that have continued since then.  Venezuela has long been a member of OPEC, the world’s oil cartel, and has among the largest oil reserves in the hemisphere.  In 2001, Venezuela was the largest economy in South America.  Soon after taking office Chavez began nationalizing companies, including the nation’s oil companies, and began using the money from oil production to pay for subsidies for consumer goods that have grown over time, for everything from food to diapers. Continue reading “Socialism and the Poor in Venezuela”