Dymphna, Baron Bodissey, and Siggy were my podcast guests a month ago. They’ll be my guests next Monday, July 2 at noon.
We’ll discuss this and other developments.
Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, who wants to dissolve his country’s Congress by an assembly with powers to rewrite the volatile nation’s constitution, a la Hugo, is knocking at our door asking for free trade:
Presidents Rafael Correa of Ecuador and Evo Morales of Bolivia, are both running notoriously anti-American regimes. They have blasted the U.S. as a capitalist oppressor, and said their whole national mission is to slip its imperialist shackles. Needless to say, they’ve been no friend to the U.S. in the United Nations. Worse yet, they’ve forged alliances with some of America’s worst enemies, like Iran and Cuba. They’ve also grown increasingly slack and obstructive in even fighting the drug war that plagues the entire Andean region. Morales has increased coca production by 8%, keeping the street price of cocaine steady even as Colombia’s production falls 9%. Ecuador has emerged as a major drug transshipment point and money laundering center – something that is evident by its well-developed illegal immigrant smuggling routes to the U.S., which are the region’s best. Ecuador has announced “irrevocably” that it will shut down a tiny U.S. military base at Manta port that tracks drug planes, in order to kick out the U.S. imperialists.
But in exchange for fighting the war on drugs, they’ve both been recipients of large amounts of U.S. aid in 2006 – $120 million in Bolivia’s case and $500 million in Ecuador’s. Along with this aid, which is both humanitarian and technical, they both have preferential “ATPDEA” trading privileges to sell their goods duty-free in the U.S. without having to reciprocate the favor to American firms.
With a setup like that, they can, in practical terms, reject and obstruct the idea of real free trade, which would ask them to open their markets to U.S. competition, as long as they retain their current trade privileges. Thus, America’s generosity to them has provided a platform for them to condemn real free trade with impunity. But under the radar, they feverishly want a continuation of these one-way US trading privileges, which is why they’re suddenly telling America they never really meant it about the ‘imperialismo’ charges and all that as the expiration beckons.
Investor’s Business Daily has more:
Foreign Relations: Should the U.S. offer preferential trade privileges to hostile anti-American regimes that view them as cheap handouts? Offering nothing in return, Ecuador thinks so. We are less sure
The U.S. doesn’t ask much from Ecuador. Sandwiched between Colombia and Peru, Ecuador has only provided a tiny “forward operating base” at the port of Manta, with 300 U.S. troops conducting aerial surveillance to keep Colombia’s FARC Marxist narcoterrorists from bringing war to Ecuador as they have to their own country.
Instead of helping on that front, Ecuador now vows to shut down the Manta base and let the skies there go unpatrolled.
The Manta shutdown ends any rationale for APTDEA. So does Correa’s refusal to recognize the FARC as a terrorist organization or to chase its operatives from Ecuadorean soil.
Worse, Ecuador has harassed Colombia with lawsuits as it tries to eradicate coca fields, making Colombia’s war that much harder.
In other, “Gimme, gimme!” news, Castro Says U.S. Must Change Its Cuba Policy `Unilaterally’.
But, is he still wearing his jogging suit?
Mitchell Langbert rips into the N Sun’s idea that Bloomberg would win if he ran for President: New York’s UINO Bloomberg: Is the MSM on Drugs?
Tying all of these developments together, the Sun’s first page headline on Friday claimed that Mayor Bloomberg has a chance of winning the presidency, apparently based on the counter-factual claim that Mayor Bloomberg is “competent”. Yet, the article fails to mention reports of the Mayor’s incompetence in the Sun‘s own pages. As the Sun’s Alicia Colon points out, the Mayor has accomplished little save drive the middle class from New York:
“…many New Yorkers think he’s done a great job as mayor. They must all be real estate developers, because one thing I’ll give Bloomberg credit for is giving them the heart and soul of New York City while driving real New Yorkers to other states.”
Mayor Bloomberg has apparently driven the middle class out of New York competently, because none of the mainstream media reports that story. That story is the story of a real estate bubble. In the 1990s only millionaires could afford a city apartment. Since Mayor Bloomberg’s election, only deca-millionaires ($10 million and up net worth) can afford one. Studios go for over a million dollars. Such a modest price is understandable because recent grads just starting out with low incomes need somewhere to live. Rent control, housing regulation, subsidies for super-developments all spell “government-induced shortage”. All of this has proceeded on Mayor Bloomberg’s watch. Yet, New York’s MSM trumpets “competence”.
In August 2006 , I suggested that Mayor Bloomberg is an INO, independent in name only. Now, the consensus seems to be that he’s a UINO, unaffiliated in name only. In either case, Bloomberg’s positions are across the board left/liberal. He has done nothing to shrink government, eliminate waste or lower taxes. He has interfered in areas such as the reconstruction of the Twin Towers where he lacks competence. His urban planning exercises, such as the master plan and the football stadium, have been manifestly incompetent. He has implemented intrusive health regulations. He has harassed small business and provided private-use eminent domain support to billionaire developers.
Read it all – Langbert concludes with,
They all point to the importance of a renewed alliance between economic liberals and the religious right. If a conservative candidate can make a convincing case that satisfies these two groups, he or she will be unbeatable.
I agree – A few weeks ago I said that a Republican candidate can win, but it’d be a matter of running against the insiders. It can be done – Sarkozy just did in France.
James Joyner has more on Gotham’s megalomaniacs.
And now, about Hillary,
Investor’s Business Daily
Because even as the video spoofing the Sopranos was being flashed around the Internet, serious charges of political corruption were about to be leveled against Hillary Clinton in a California court. As it turns out, the Clintons-as-crime-family trope in Hillary’s campaign video might be a little too close for comfort.
The scandal involves allegations by movie producer Peter Paul that a 2000 senatorial fundraiser for Clinton in Hollywood violated campaign laws. Paul claims he spent $2 million to produce the fundraising event — a de facto campaign expenditure. Under campaign law then in effect, campaign gifts were limited to $2,000.
He further claims that Hillary Clinton knew of his behind-the-scenes illegal activity and approved of it.
This Friday, Paul’s attorney says he will file an appeals court brief seeking the admission of new evidence in the case: a video in which Hillary Clinton is heard, over a speakerphone, thanking Paul in advance for putting on the fundraiser. “I wanted to call and personally thank all of you,” she says on the tape. “It’s going to mean a lot to the president, too,” she adds.
That last part is crucial, since Paul maintains the only reason he put the fundraiser on was to get Bill Clinton to serve as a “rainmaker” for a now-defunct Internet company that Paul headed.
The Federal Elections Commission already found Clinton’s 2000 senatorial campaign failed to report all the money it raised during the event that Paul produced. This takes that a step further.
Doug Ross explains Hillary Clinton and “The Largest Election Law Fraud in History”. This is a must-read post. Doug clearly explains the latest Clinton scandal, which is of course bypassed by the MSM (which is too busy talking about Paris Hilton’s latest).
The post includes two videos:
Go to Doug Ross’s post and read it all.
You won’t find this at the WaPo, which is busy talking about hillarycare
… but I never heard that they were bigger in India, too:
Granted, I’m not the most experienced woman in the world, but those look awful big.
We saw Oceans 13 last night and liked it for what it is: a showcase for Las Vegas, and for the stars. One thing for sure: it is one expensive-looking movie. David Paymer steals the show as the hapless hotel reviewer.
A lot of people are deploring all these movie sequels; it’s just another way of marketing the old serial movies, like the Thin Man series, and the Sherlock Holmes series of old.
Update, Monday 25 June
Was the Al Pacino character an architect from Dubai?
Also via Larwyn, A Jacksonian looks at Robots for the future of farming.
I’m adding Conservative Beach Girl to my blogroll.
GM Roper hands out another Dimwitted Dodo Award.
I adore VDH’s writing, and this post is particularly good,
World Gone By
Some 20 years ago I went fishing in the California mountains and had the best trout ever, and would eat the trout I fish now (rather than throw it back in the water), which obviously means I’m of the “older generation” mindset. But not to worry, I’ll continue lying about my age for as long as I’m able to lie.
Hanson also has a few thoughts on Gazitis,
Any examination of the multimillionaire spoiled brat Bin-Laden, or the aristocratic and snobbish Egyptian Dr. Zawahiri, or the other middle-class 9/11 killers might suggest that poverty is no requisite for jihadism. In fact, most of the worst of the this very sad bunch are affluent and have had exposure to the Western affluence and liberality.
One should read about the life of Sayyid Qutb, intellectual architect of the Muslim Brotherhood that we now apparently wish to embrace. He hated the very thought of Jews, though he had seen few if any in Egypt, and was only to encounter them in any real number in America. This middle-class Egyptian—subsidized generously by his own government, treated well and embraced by Americans—grew to detest the West for its liberality, its equality of the sexes, its material wealth, its friendship with the Jews.
In other words, his wretched life reminds us that envy, jealousy, anger at lost stature, these primordial emotions fuel jihadism. They may be enhanced by general misery, acerbated by statist failures and authoritarian governments, but ultimately the nihilist rages are attributable to the lethal mix of Middle East tribalism and Islam’s utter failure to account for and live with modernity.
Thinking that radical Islam will soften itself or evolve is analogous to a victorious Confederacy voluntarily ending slavery about 1870, a kinder, gentler Soviet Union without the gulags, Hitler in his dotage dismantling Auschwitz, or Tojo in the 1950s turning his old zeal to flooding the Co-Prosperity Sphere with cars and radios.
And VDH also has an installment of his novel.
I disagree. For as long as the UN and the EU sympahtize with Fatah, there will always be another chance.