What may be the most consequential election of the decade

October 24th, 2014

I wrote today on What may be the most consequential election of the decade. Go read it at Da Tech Guy Blog.

Argentina: Creeping to the edge

October 23rd, 2014

Chris Noon interviews Prof. Steve Hanke on Argentina creeping closer to the edge. You must read the interview in full,

Argentina’s bleak fiscal situation could deteriorate further over the next year, with a prominent economist telling Interfax on Monday the Latin American country’s foreign reserves could shrink to “near $10 billion” by October 2015. It would leave Buenos Aires struggling to meet payments for dollar-denominated LNG imports, which are essential to the country’s energy matrix.

“To get there [$10 billion], we would see monthly declines in reserves that were roughly similar to those of Q1 2014. It could come about through macroeconomic factors, such as the combination of a strong US dollar, weak commodity prices, and decreasing oil prices. The Saudis are squeezing their competition – especially Canadian tar sands producers – as they push for more market share. This may push down Brent crude further to $60-70 per barrel,” said Hanke.
“It’s difficult to say what will be the ‘straw to break the camel’s back’, but if you keep piling up economic problems, you create a ‘tipping-point’ situation. There’s just too much weight on everything and it gives way,” said the economist.

Trying to put a band-aid on a gashing wound, the government is trying to bring dollars into the country by forcing farmers to export soybeans held in storage even when the price of soybeans has plummeted by around 30% since April, and

Buenos Aires has resorted to making deals with friendly foreign lenders to replenish its coffers. A multibillion-dollar currency swap between Argentina and China will be launched in November, the Latin American country’s central bank chief was quoted as saying in a local paper on Sunday.

That will probably help remedy Argentina’s deeply-ingrained structural problems as well as Venezuela’s oil deals with China have in solving that country’s problems, which is to say, not at all.

Venezuela: Mileposts on the highway to hell

October 23rd, 2014

Reading news about Venezuela brings to mind AC/DC lyrics,

Dont stop me!

I’m on the highway to hell
On the highway to hell!
Highway to hell!
I’m on the highway to hell

And I’m going down..all the way
I’m on the highway to hell

Fingerprints for food


Venezuela Readies 2015 Budget
Venezuela’s finance minister assured lawmakers that the country was poised to handle sliding oil prices and wouldn’t default on its debt, while proposing a 35% increase in the 2015 budget.

Venezuela, which depends on oil for 96% of its export revenue, has seen the price for its crude slide to $77.65 a barrel, the lowest since late 2010 and a drop of $15 since late September.

A scarcity of dollars has spurred shortages of basic goods in the import-dependent country and made investors increasingly nervous. Oil rich but cash strapped, Venezuela carries a total of $67.4 billion in debt issued by the government and state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, also known as PdVSA.

The country’s budget deficit registers at 16.9% of gross domestic product, government figures show, above the mark of countries like Greece and Spain during the eurozone debt crisis. Venezuela’s foreign reserves fell below $20 billion earlier this month for the first time since 2003.

Despite Riches, Venezuela Starts Food Rationing
Government Rolls Out Fingerprint Scanners to Limit Purchases of Basic Goods; ‘How Is it Possible We’ve Gotten to This Extreme’

At the blogs:
Venezuela: Is Default Truly A Four Letter Word?

The pain from the China loans

The situation is quite simple. Because of the loans we signed with China – them paying in advance for future shipments in oil – the drop in oil prices means Venezuela doesn’t just sell each barrel for less money, it also has fewer barrels available to sell to the market. Venezuela’s downturn is therefore made all the worse by the ridiculous conditions the geniuses at PDVSA signed on to.

In other words, a bad situation is made worse, and the hit in our fiscal income is all the larger.

Sing it, guys!



In tonight’s podcast at 8PM Eastern,

October 22nd, 2014

and later archived for your listening convenience, The elections in Brazil with Monica Showalter of Investor’s Business Daily.

Mexico: The death of #Felina

October 22nd, 2014

faustaMy latest, Mexico: The death of #Felina, is up at Da Tech Guy Blog,

As we watch with dismay the ever-more-porous border with Mexico, is it unreasonable to be concerned about the effects of the Obama administration’s open borders policy on public safety and national security?

Cuba: NYT goes Duranty on ebola

October 21st, 2014

Walter Duranty, arguably the New York Times’s most [in]famous correspondent, earned his reputation as Stalin’s apologist. In keeping with this tradition, the NYT editorial board is touting Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola, actually parroting Cuba’s Communist propaganda (from the mouth of José Luis Di Fabio, the World Health Organization’s man in Havana), ignoring the fact that the embargo does not apply to medical supplies and equipment:

José Luis Di Fabio, the World Health Organization’s representative in Havana, said Cuban medics were uniquely suited for the mission because many had already worked in Africa. “Cuba has very competent medical professionals,” said Mr. Di Fabio, who is Uruguayan. Mr. Di Fabio said Cuba’s efforts to aid in health emergencies abroad are stymied by the embargo the United States imposes on the island, which struggles to acquire modern equipment and keep medical shelves adequately stocked.

In for a penny, in for a pound, the NYT rolls right along, exhorting the USA to

As a matter of good sense and compassion, the American military, which now has about 550 troops in West Africa, should commit to giving any sick Cuban access to the treatment center the Pentagon built in Monrovia and to assisting with evacuation.

For starters

Governments, China’s included, complain they simply don’t have enough experience with Ebola to send in large numbers: “This is a big challenge for our scientists,” said Qian Jun, team leader for the China Center for Disease Control Mobile Laboratory Team in Sierra Leone.

So the question is, Is Cuba Sending Unqualified Health Workers to West Africa? 

The Cuban dictatorship is willing to sacrifice anything — or anyone — for the sake of propaganda.

This appears to be the case of the health workers it has sent to West Africa to work on the Ebola virus.

The details that have been filtering out of Cuba regarding the terms and conditions that the Castro regime has given to these health workers are very concerning.

For example, the Cuban health workers have been compelled to agree that if they contract the Ebola virus, they will not be repatriated to the island.

Moreover, they have been warned of a 90% chance of no return.

As such, there has been a life insurance policy taken out for these health workers with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Surely the families are the beneficiaries of the policies, right?

Nope — the Cuban state is.

(It remains unclear whether the WHO is further paying the Castro regime for these health workers.)

In theory, the deal is that

Those fortunate enough to return have been “promised” nearly $10,000 per month — to be deposited in a Cuban state bank account during their absence — as well as a house and car.

Now, in practice, IF any are allowed to return, would the Cuban government actually pay, because no one outside the regime’s inner circle is allowed to collect.



Venezuela: Happy Halloween! Hugo Chavez M&Ms

October 21st, 2014

The M&Ms w Chavez image the cyanide pills. Savage capitalism. #F*ckThat I believe that coffee thing but this

How appropriate that, in keeping with a country doomed by the ghoulish chavista policies, someone came up with Hugo Chavez M&Ms in time for Halloween. Jaime Bayly had them,

Bayly says they are made in the USA, and calls it “a triumph of capitalism”. I find it vomitive.

As I understand it, Mars Corp. will personalize M&Ms, so apparently it doesn’t matter whose picture you send them as long as they get paid.

On the other hand, a bunch of dictator-themed M&Ms would be perfect for a house of horrors. You could do a Pol-Pot, Stalin, Marx, North Korea Kims, Fidel Castro assortment for a Communist theme.

In Venezuela, only the well-connected chavistas will be able to afford them, though. Everybody else will be standing in line trying to scramble a day’s rations.

Immigration: Obama to allow in 100,000 Haitians with no visas

October 20th, 2014

Hey, I know scientists with PhDs who have had to leave because their visas weren’t extended, but Obama is inviting in 100,000 Haitians to be your new neighbors, a move that will have disastrous consequences for Puerto Rico.

Keith Hoffler: Obama Quietly Begins Unilateral Immigration Reform

President Obama Friday made a downpayment on the sweeping immigration “reform” he is expected to unilaterally declare once the elections are out of the way, permitting up to around 100,000 prospective Haitian immigrants to bypass immigration law and enter the country.

The move, a typical Friday announcement designed to attract minimum notice, eliminated wait times for future Florida Democratic voters Haitians who have been approved to gain green cards in two years, allowing them to make their way to the United States beginning in 2015 instead and begin working if they want.

Their entry has to have been petitioned by “family” members already in the United States.

This will negatively impact Florida, but especially Puerto Rico’s ailing economy, which has a sizable Haitian illegal alien problem.

Obama is bypassing Congress since his priorities are clear. This statement from Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas shows that the administration has its eye on rebuilding the Haitian economy, a foreign country, giving no thought to the ailing economy of Puerto Rico, a U.S. Commonwealth,

“The rebuilding and development of a safe and economically strong Haiti is a priority for the United States. The Haitian Family Reunification Parole program promotes a fundamental underlying goal of our immigration system — family reunification,” said Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. “It also supports broader U.S. goals for Haiti’s reconstruction and development by providing the opportunity for certain eligible Haitians to safely and legally immigrate sooner to the United States.”

But wait! There’s more!

Speaking to the Miami Herald, an administration official did not try to hide that the action was taken in lieu of legislation.

Comprehensive immigration reform would have solved this problem not just for Haitians but for all other nationalities who are waiting in the immigrant visa backlog because it would have substantially increased the numbers of family immigrant visas available and people would have been able to come in as permanent residents. As it hasn’t happened, we are proceeding with this program.

“For all other nationalities”? According to the House Judiciary Committee,

A similar program that reunited Central American children with their parents had a fraud rate of about 70%.

Ruling country by decree: a rolling disaster of President Obama’s own making.

[NOTE: There will be no Carnival of Latin America today since I'm still in the thick of moving.]



In transit, again

October 17th, 2014

During the next few days I’m completing a move that started in July, so blogging will be sporadic. Stay tuned.

Across the country, in an unrelated event, Gerard‘s moving too, as it tuns out. He’s an optimist:

The curious incident of the Carnival Magic in Belize UPDATED

October 17th, 2014

>

#Ebola, a cruise ship, an international incident; my latest article, The curious incident of the Carnival Magic in Belize is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.

The curious incident will probably put the kibosh on Caribbean holiday tourism for a long time.

UPDATE
MUST-READ:
An Outbreak of Epidemiological Hysteria.

As Tyler Durden said, It’s almost as if the administration is doing everything in its power to spread a panic.