Florida’s newest high-profile Democrat, former Gov. Charlie Crist, was spotted at the Segovia Tower in Coral Gables at a $32,000-a-head fundraiser hosted by personal injury attorney Ralph G. Patino.
Obama moved next to a fundraiser hosted by Jorge Mas Santos, a Cuban American National Foundation leader and CEO of MasTec. There, the president thanked Mas Santos, who stood next to him, and singled out Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
Speaking by the pool of Mas Santos’ house, Obama said his policy of supporting civil society in Cuba is beginning to show results, but that Washington must continue to be “creative and thoughtful” in its policies.
Nicaraguan strongman Anastasio Somoza was toppled in 1979. Many had fought to rid their country of his one-man rule, and a broad-based ruling directorate was set up after Somoza was banished. It was supposed to organize elections. Daniel Ortega, a leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front that overthrew Somoza, had other ideas. He wanted to remake Castro’s Cuba in Central America.
Mr. Ortega’s first step was to cleanse the Sandinista directorate of moderate elements, using fear and intimidation. In 1980, his security thugs assassinated Jorge Salazar, a popular and charismatic Nicaraguan businessman who had opposed Somoza’s dictatorship but also opposed the effort to install a Marxist-Leninist military government. It worked. Members of the directorate, who had naively believed that they were part of a new democratic Nicaragua, were terrified. They resigned and the ruling junta became totally Castroite.
The crackdown that followed was ruthless. Cuban enforcers were brought in to help. Houses, farms, ranches and businesses were confiscated, and the independent media were muzzled. Central planning meant price controls for everyone. Even rural women carrying produce to market were arrested as speculators.
Highland peasants who had fought to remove Somoza rebelled. They didn’t want to be ruled by a left-wing dictator any more than by the right-wing variety. They organized themselves into “Contras.” The Miskito Indians also fought back. In retribution the army burned their villages and carried out executions. Thousands fled to Honduras to live in refugee camps.
In the Sandinista nation some pigs were more equal than others. Property seized by the state somehow never made it into the hands of the poor, but comandantes got rich. When a decade of economic decline forced an internationally monitored election in 1990, opposition candidate Violeta Chamorro won the presidency. But the heavily armed comandantes refused to return their loot to its rightful owners. Critics dubbed it “la piñata.” Mr. Ortega has since returned to power.
DeBlasio, who honeymooned in Cuba, apparently believes “advances in literacy and health care” justify all of this.
By April 2007, when the Bush administration sent the U.S.-Colombia free-trade agreement to Congress for ratification, the cut-flower export industry was thriving. One reason was preferential access to the U.S. market granted by Congress. Mr. Biden certainly is familiar with ATPA since he voted against its reauthorization in August 2002.
That year is memorable for Colombians because the country was being overrun by FARC terrorists, and Mr. Uribe was elected president. Over the next eight years the former governor of Antioquia, whose father had been murdered by the FARC, worked tirelessly and at great personal peril to restore order. As Mr. Biden notes in his op-ed, the road from Bogotá to flower farms was “impossibly dangerous ten years ago,” though he doesn’t give Mr. Uribe or the Colombian military the credit they deserve for that reversal of fortune.
In late December 2010 I had numerous conversations with Colombian officials who were sweating it out because a modified version of ATPA (called ATP-DEA) had not yet been renewed. The Obama administration was refusing to send the free-trade agreement to Congress for a vote, and Valentine’s Day—a crucial holiday for flower growers and by extension the economy—was less than two months away. An estimated 200,000 Colombian jobs were tied to the industry and a roughly equivalent number in the U.S.
Mr. Obama eventually signed the U.S.-Colombia free-trade agreement in late 2011 after sitting on it for 3½ years. A Colombian official told me last week that he believes it was only completed because Mr. Uribe—whom Mr. Obama’s international-socialist friends hated—was no longer in office. There were two other crucial developments, he said. Congressional Republicans insisted that it be voted on together with the pending Panama and South Korea free-trade agreements, and Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.) pushed for it in conjunction with the stipulation that Colombia would expand laws raising the cost of labor.
Mr. Biden voted against the U.S.-Chile free-trade agreement in 2003 and the Central American free-trade agreement in 2005. Mexican trucks still don’t have unfettered access to the U.S., in violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, because the Teamsters and therefore Democrats won’t allow it. Mr. Biden doesn’t explain any of this.
he disclosure of the legislation that Menendez wanted to push through- that had incentives for natural gas vehicle conversions- is the latest intersection between the New Jersey Democrat who is the subject of an ethics inquiry on Capitol Hill and the Florida doctor involved in a federal criminal investigation.
Dr. Salomon Melgen invested in Gaseous Fuel Systems Corp. of Weston, Florida, and joined its board of directors in early 2010, according to the company’s chief executive and a former company consultant.
GFS designs, manufactures and sells products to convert diesel-fuel fleets to natural gas. The amount of Melgen’s investment is confidential under rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission, but a 2009 document filed with the SEC showed the company required a minimum individual investment at that time of $51,500.
At the same time, Menendez emerged as a principal supporter of a natural gas bill that would boost tax credits and grants to truck and heavy vehicle fleets that converted to alternative fuels.
The bill stalled in the Senate Finance Committee, and after it was revived in 2012, the NAT GAS Act failed to win the needed 60 votes to pass.
While the bill was under consideration between 2009 and 2011, the former consultant for GFS spent $220,000 lobbying Menendez’s staff and other congressional and federal officials on the act’s provisions as well as other regulatory issues, according to interviews and Senate records.
Melgen has been a staunch supporter, giving more than $14,000 directly to Menendez since the late 1990s and, through his eye clinic, donating $700,000 last year to a ‘super’ political committee that supported Democratic Senate candidates. The committee, in turn, spent $582,000 to back Menendez’ campaign.
As you all know by now, Bob Woodward, the guy who brought down Nixon, has made the White House unhappy by (correctly) asserting that sequestration was Obama’s idea in the first place. So unhappy that, after being yelled at for an hour, Woodward received an email from Gene Sperling, economic adviser to the president, promising(?)
But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim.
As editor-in-chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Woodward called a veiled threat. “You will regret staking out that claim,” The Washington Post reporter was told.
Once I moved back to daily reporting this year, the badgering intensified. I wrote Saturday night, asking the official to stop e-mailing me. The official wrote, challenging Woodward and my tweet. “Get off your high horse and assess the facts, Ron,” the official wrote.
And thus the facade continues: promising peace and delivering expanded war, with new frontiers broken for drone killings of children and other innocents, legal justifications crafted for killing Americans, and near-limitless executive power over nearly every aspect of our lives. Reciting the Progressive line while delivering impoverishment, decreased access and less-affordable healthcare, clearly it matters only what he says, not what is. His hoped-for next act: new goals of gun control that would make the most vulnerable more so, an increased minimum wage that would further exacerbate the inability of those with no work experience to get an entry-level job in which to hone the skills that will put them on the economic ladder, and “green” measures, based, like the Life of Pi, on computer-generated fantasy so much more appealing than dry real-world data.
Ted Cruz is in the unique position of being a Senator who’ll most likely never run for POTUS since he was born in Canada. His professional background is second to no one’s (particularly the current POTUS’s),
Before being elected, Ted received national acclaim as the Solicitor General of Texas, the State’s chief lawyer before the U.S. Supreme Court. Serving under Attorney General Greg Abbott, Ted was the nation’s youngest Solicitor General, the longest serving Solicitor General in Texas, and the first Hispanic Solicitor General of Texas.
In private practice in Houston, Ted spent five years as a partner at one of the nation’s largest law firms, where he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national Appellate Litigation practice.
Ted has authored more than 80 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and argued 43 oral arguments, including nine before the U.S. Supreme Court. During Ted’s service as Solicitor General, Texas achieved an unprecedented series of landmark national victories, including successfully defending:
U.S. sovereignty against the UN and the World Court in Medellin v. Texas;
The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms;
The constitutionality of the Texas Ten Commandments monument;
The constitutionality of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance;
The constitutionality of the Texas Sexually Violent Predator Civil Commitment law; and
The Texas congressional redistricting plan.
The National Law Journal has called Ted “a key voice” to whom “the [U.S. Supreme Court] Justices listen.” Ted has been named by American Lawyer magazine as one of the 50 Best Litigators under 45 in America, by the National Law Journal as one of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America, and by Texas Lawyer as one of the 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century.
From 2004-09, he taught U.S. Supreme Court Litigation as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law.
Prior to becoming Solicitor General, he served as the Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission, as Associate Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, and as Domestic Policy Advisor on the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign.
Ted graduated with honors from Princeton University and with high honors from Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist on the U.S. Supreme Court. He was the first Hispanic ever to clerk for the Chief Justice of the United States.
So far he is the only senator who has dared challenge the many blatant falsehoods President Obama and many congressional Democrats have been pushing regarding guns, in particular the bogus claim that 40 percent of gun sales are done without background checks.
To add to the Dems’ outrage, Cruz is demanding that Chuck Hagel disclose the source of funds Hagel receive for speeches (particularly $200,000),
In a way it’s all brilliant showbiz: Scare people into supporting your position. But we’ve been though it before, and you wonder, again, why a triumphant president and a battered Republican House majority can’t reach a responsible agreement.
And then you remind yourself why. Because Mr. Obama thrives in chaos. He flourishes in unsettled circumstances and grooves on his own calm. He spins an air of calamity, points fingers and garners support. His only opponent is a hapless, hydra-headed House. America has a weakness for winners, and Republicans just now do not look like winners. They have many voices but no real voice, and no one saying anything that makes you stop and think. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, is a singular character who tells you in measured tones that we must have measured answers. Half the country finds his politics to be too much to one side, but his temperament is not extreme and he often looks reasonable. With this gift he ties his foes in knots to get what he wants, which is higher taxes. He wants the rich to pay more and those he judges to be in need to receive more. End of story. Debt and deficits don’t interest him, except to the extent he must give them lip service.
And so far this seems to be working fine for him. A USA Today/Pew Research Center poll out this week reported half the respondents said it will be the Republicans’ fault if the sequester goes through. Only a third said they’d blame the president.