Thursday, July 31, 2014

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Clinton In Power Will Not Bring Back The Good Times

July 28, 2014 4:23 pm

A Clinton in power will not bring back the good times

Bill Clinton became president at a golden moment for the US
Back in 1992 I was watching from the balcony of Madison Square Garden as Bill Clinton accepted the Democratic party nomination for the presidency. On stage with him was his wife, Hillary, and their young daughter, Chelsea. The music that blared from the loudspeakers as the Clintons took their bow was Fleetwood Mac singing “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow”. It was a quintessentially American message – optimistic and forward-looking.
By contrast, if and when Hillary Clinton bids for the presidency in 2016, her unofficial campaign anthem might as well be “Yesterday”. The most powerful appeal of the Clinton name is nostalgia for the good old days of the 1990s, when all America’s troubles seemed so far away.




Opinion polls show that Mr Clinton is now easily the most well-regarded president of the past 25 years. Mrs Clinton has her own formidable résumé – as a senator and as secretary of state. But a large part of her appeal still lies in the warm glow of the Clinton brand. As Maureen Dowd of The New York Times, a long-time chronicler of the foibles of the Clintons, pointed out in a recent column, even their bitter enemies seem to be succumbing to nostalgia. Ms Dowd quoted Bill O’Reilly, the conservative television star: “With Hillary you get Bill. And Bill knows what’s going on.”
But while Mr Clinton may yet return to the White House as First Man, the Clinton years are never coming back. Mr Clinton had his strengths as president – intelligence, shrewdness, empathy – but he was, above all, lucky in his timing. He came to power at a golden moment for the US in both economics and in geopolitics.
The Soviet Union had collapsed in 1991, just a year before Mr Clinton was first elected. Throughout his eight years as president, there was no serious competitor to the US for the role of global superpower. The Japanese, who had haunted the dreams of Americans in the 1980s, entered a prolonged slump at the start of the 1990s, from which they have yet to pull out. China had been knocked sideways by the student uprising of 1989 and its violent suppression. The Chinese economy grew rapidly in the 1990s but it was still only 12 per cent the size of the US economy by the time Mr Clinton left office.
The name Osama bin Laden had yet to impinge on the public consciousness. Al-Qaeda struck New York and Washington nine months after Mr Clinton left the Oval office. The foreign-policy preoccupations of the Clinton years presented themselves as moral dilemmas – such as Bosnia or Rwanda – rather than as threats to national security.
Hillary has her own formidable résumé. But a large part of her appeal still lies in the warm glow of the family brand
Mr Clinton’s economic inheritance was similarly golden. The frightening deficits of the Reagan years disappeared in the 1990s, partly because of sensible fiscal decisions taken by President George HW Bush. By the time Mr Clinton took office, the US economy was already recovering strongly. He was the lucky beneficiary of a surge in American productivity, following the transformation of the workplace by computers. With unemployment at just 4 per cent and inflation under control, there was exuberant talk of a “New Economy”.
Given this fortunate combination of circumstances, is it any wonder that the president had time for dalliances in the Oval Office?
Now compare Mr Clinton’s inheritance, with the America that faced Barack Obama. The collapse of Lehman Brothers, just two months before the 2008 presidential election, meant that Mr Obama and his team took office facing an acute financial and economic crisis – which continues to overshadow his presidency, six years after the event. (Despite that, Mr Obama was able to push through the comprehensive healthcare reform that had eluded Mr Clinton and his wife, who was placed in charge of the first effort to secure universal coverage.)
The international picture that Mr Obama faced was similarly bleak. The “unipolar moment” Mr Clinton enjoyed was already drawing to a close by the time Mr Obama came to power. The US was struggling to extricate itself from draining wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When Mr Obama leaves office in January 2017, perhaps to give way to President Hillary Clinton, China will – at least measured in terms of purchasing power – already have displaced the US as the world’s largest economy. Conservative commentators, such as Mr O’Reilly, often blame these setbacks on Mr Obama’s “weakness” or failures of leadership. In truth, he was dealt a much weaker hand than any of his recent predecessors.
The nostalgia for the Clinton years also extends to matters of style. Mr Obama, once praised for his cool, is now condemned for his “coldness”. Mr Clinton, once attacked for his ill-discipline, is now lauded for his humanity. It is true that Mr Clinton brought a warmth to the presidency that Mr Obama lacks. On the other hand, Mr Obama has conducted himself with a dignity that eluded Mr Clinton.
As Mrs Clinton prepares to run for the ultimate prize – with the publication of a worthy book and numerous television appearances – she will be hoping that Americans remember the good bits of the Clinton years and forget the icky parts. The real contrast between the Obama and the Clinton presidencies, however, is not between personalities but between eras.
It would be nice to believe that another Clinton in the White House could somehow magically recreate the golden economic and geopolitical circumstances of the 1990s. But, as Fleetwood Mac once put it: “Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.”

Monday, July 28, 2014

World War One Started 100 Years Ago Today

My dear friends 100 years ago today an event sparked World War I; the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand of the Austria Hungary Empire. Before it was over 16 million men and women would die and another 20 million would be wounded. "The War To End All Wars" set the stage for the great Spanish flu epidemic that killed another 18-20 million people.
Four days after Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Germany and Russia declare war...

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jack's South America: Brasil Injects $20 Billion Dollars Into The Bankin...

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Some Further Thoughts On The Downing of MH17 in the Ukraine

I got some response on my post about the shoot down of MH17 in the Ukraine. I wish to correct a fact . 6 Aids experts from Holland are confirmed to have died in the crash. There are varying reports claiming that up to 100 Aids experts died and that is still open to confirmation.

A careful investigation is required to find out who was responsible for the shooting down of this airline. President Pu...tin is blaming the Ukraine government. They will fully cooperate in any investigation. I have a good feeling that all of their missile launchers and missiles are accounted for.

The SA-11 anti aircraft missile is a very complex weapons system. Many years ago I considered becoming part of the US Army anti aircraft missile forces. At least a year of training was required to make me a competent team member. The same can be said of a complex Russian anti-aircraft missile system. I doubt that the pro-Russian separatists had the time to undergo this training. So Russian officers and specialists are at every battery of SA-11 missiles inside the Ukraine.

Most disturbing at this point it appears that Putin will not allow outside people to recover the bodies and send them back for burial. These bodies may never be returned to their relatives.

Thanks to Facebook I am able to talk to several highly-educated and English-speaking Russians. They support President Putin. In their mind the Ukraine is to Russia what Mexico is to the United States. They feel that the Ukraine has a history with Russia going back for centuries. They feel that the Ukraine was attacked by Europe and the United States. They feel that they are defending their interests there.

Europe is frightened to resist Putin and be part of some really tough sanctions. The reason is simple. Putin supplies most of their natural gas. If he cut off the supply, Europe would literally "freeze to death" during the winter. Energy experts say it will be 2020 before the US can replace Russia as the prime supplier of natural gas to Europe.

What is needed is the kind of courage that President Harry Truman showed in 1948 when Josef Stalin blockaded Berlin. Truman organized relief with US Air Force transport planes providing all the supplies that the people of West Berlin needed to survive. A crash program needs to be organized in the US, Canada, and the Middle East to provide Europe with their natural gas needs this winter. Then Europe can tell Putin they no longer need his natural gas and stand up to him as the US is.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Foremr President Clinton Could Have Been On The Ill-Fated MH17 Flight

Everyone up to 100 Aids experts were on the tragic Malaysian Airlines flight brought down in the Ukraine. These experts were on their way to a big Aids conference in Melbourne. Former President Bill Clinton is going to be one of the keynote speakers at the conference there. I have a feeling that former President Clinton travels on his own private jet. Imagine for a second if he had been on that Malaysian Airlines flight and had been killed. It's a frightening scenario that could have led to a war between Russia and the USA.

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NCIS Boss ‘Thrilled’ for Cote de Pablo’s New Gig, Affirms There’s No Bad Blood | TVLine

NCIS Boss ‘Thrilled’ for Cote de Pablo’s New Gig, Affirms There’s No Bad Blood | TVLine:

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Yesterday Morning Our Comcast Internet Service Crashed In Pacifica, California

Everyone the Comcast internet service in our area crashed yesterday morning. It was an inconvenience for me. Please try to imagine the problems this would cause for a police department, hospital, etc. In the case of the police department, an officer pulls a car over and calls for a routine license plate or name check. If the person is a dangerous and armed fugitive the officer could get killed if he or she does not know that they are dealing with a dangerous person. In the case of a hospital the Intensive Care unit and surgical rooms would not operate. It is not a nice scenario.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Jack's South America: Brasil Investors Take World Cup Defeat To The Poll...

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Jack's South America: Argentina Will Win Today In Rio de Janeiro

Jack's South America: Argentina Will Win Today In Rio de Janeiro: Now I am going to make a prediction on the game tomorrow. Elena says it's a 60% chance that Germany will win and a 40% chance that Arge...

Jack's South America: The World Cup-Brasil Showed What It Could Do!!!

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Jack's South America: Some Argentines Excel, But Others Would Be Odd Wor...

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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The TSA Seized My Wife's Dulce de Leche

Everybody Elena had a wonderful time in Brasil attending World Cup games. Everyone there "went out of their way" to make her feel welcome, to help her when problems arose, and to be especially warm and friendly. As Elena was leaving Brasil, she bought some dulce de leche at the Sao Paulo Airport. This is a sweet well known to people in Brasil and Argentina. It's a paste made from milk,sugar and some other ingredients. Elena put it in her carry-on bag. She flew from Sao Paulo to Charlotte, North Carolina. US Customs had no problem with it at all when she cleared customs at the Charlotte airport.
When she went to go through security for her flight from Charlotte to San Francisco, she had a big problem with the TSA screeners. In their mind her harmless South American paste could be an explosive.They seized it from her. Elena tried to get it packed into her luggage checked on the plane but it was too late. Elena was never compensated for the seizure of her dulce de leche.
When Elena came home she was sad and angry about this experience. As her husband I felt that it was my responsibility to replace her lost dulce de leche. As luck would have it, I have been a customer for many years of Amigo Foods in Miami. They sell a large variety of food and drinks from all over Latin America. I found her lost dulce de leche and ordered some. Last night it arrived and Elena was a very happy lady!!!!

Jack's South America: Brasil Shell Shocked By World Cup Horror Show!

Jack's South America: Brasil Shell Shocked By World Cup Horror Show!: Last updated:  July 9, 2014 12:27 am Brazil shell-shocked by World Cup horror show By Simon Kuper and Thalita Carrico in São Paul...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Swiss Banks Threaten Freeze On US Accounts Over Tax Evasion

July 7, 2014 11:55 am

Swiss banks threaten freeze on US accounts over tax evasion

Several Swiss banks have threatened to freeze American clients’ accounts unless they prove they are, or take steps to become, tax compliant, as the country’s lenders hurry to resolve a tax evasion dispute with the US.
The moves – made by a number of banks, according to three people familiar with the situation who did not disclose the identity of the banks involved – come ahead of a deadline at the end of July for banks in a programme set up by the US Department of Justice last year to show which American clients conform to US tax requirements. However, the validity of the banks’ approach has split legal experts.




“Swiss banks are trying to compel customers to do something that a customer is not contractually obliged to do and by blocking accounts, they are committing an act of coercion that is problematic under Swiss penal, contractual and regulatory laws,” says one lawyer.
Others disagree. “It’s legally defensible in situations where banks have been lied to by clients about their US status,” says another Swiss lawyer. “In other situations where the bank knew all along that the client was a US person, it’s more problematic.”
The US has been clamping down hard on banks it believes helped US citizens dodge their fiscal responsibilities. In 2009, UBS paid a $780m fine after admitting it helped thousands of clients evade taxes. And in May, US regulators forced Credit Suisse to pay a $2.6bn fine after the bank pleaded guilty to conspiring to help clients evade taxes. Around a dozen other banks, including Julius Baer and Zürcher Kantonalbank, have long been under investigation.
The DoJ programme was designed to allow the rest of the Swiss banking sector – which consists of some 300 banks – to atone for any past sins by handing over information about their activities with US clients and, in cases where clients had undeclared accounts, by paying stiff fines.

FT Video

Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dugan
February 27 2014: Credit Suisse executives faced an intense grilling by US senators over allegations the bank helped US clients avoid taxes. The hearing follows a scathing report saying Credit Suisse bankers used secret elevators, created offshore shell entities and hid account statements in a Sports Illustrated magazine in the alleged tax evasion scheme.
More than 100 Swiss financial institutions have signed up to the programme. They had until the end of June to provide the US with information about the scale of their activities with US clients and how their cross-border business was run, as well as with information that will help the US government in its efforts to track down tax evaders.
Banks now have until the end of July to provide “mitigating” information – for example that certain accounts had been declared – or until September 15 to show that clients disclosed their accounts themselves – at the urging of their bank – through the US’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure scheme.
The fines which banks in the programme will have to pay will be calculated based on the maximum dollar value of accounts deemed undeclared, once the mitigating information has been taken into account. Accounts opened before August 1, 2008 will attract a fine of 20 per cent of the assets involved. Fines will rise to 50 per cent for accounts opened after February 2009.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Friday, July 4, 2014

Elena Takes A Ride In A dune Buggy

15 Years Ago Today I Stopped Being A Homeless Person

This 4th of July is a very special day for me. 15 years ago today my status changed from a homeless person to a person with a two-bedroom apartment in the Willow Glen section of San Jose, California. I woke up that morning sleeping on the floor of a church. I had breakfast and got my things together, including my bicycle. All of these things were loaded in the back of a pick-up truck. I was driven to the Glen Willow Apartments.The people from Inn Visions helped me to bring my clothes and my bike up to my new apartment. They shook my hand and wished me good luck. It felt so wonderful to have my own home again. I had to sleep in a sleeping bag for the first few days. A Catholic Church in San Jose gave me furniture (some of which I still have today!). Joao and Djenane Santos helped me to move the furniture into the apartment. I had to work two jobs to afford the rent but it did not matter. Finally I had my dignity back! I had some hope in life.
When Elena came to the US to start our lives together she came to this apartment.
Rebecca Snyders Darr a big hug for you and a special thanks! Your grant for the damage deposit made it all happen. I had been homeless, on and off, from September, 1996 to July 4, 1999.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Some Hot "Jail House Chili"

My friends when I was a little child my dear mother would slave for hours cooking a dish known as "jailhouse chili." When we ate it at dinner it was a master piece of great spices and meat. I remember it decades later. Yesterday I decided to try my hand at cooking. With the help of a mix I made my own chili dish. It took almost two hours of hard work. The end result was very decent.
It was also very spicy. Over thirty years ago my ex-wife Maria and I used to go to a special Indian restaurant in the Parramatta section of Sydney.(This was the actual town where British ships bearing convicts would land and unload their human cargo.) This Indian restaurant had very spicy foods. Maria and I would leave the restaurant sweating and with tears in our eyes. From that moment on I decided that food is not really spicy unless one leaves the table after eating sweating and with tears in the eyes.
I always tell Elena that people from the UK and Argentina have much in common including a disdain for spicy food. Elena appreciated my efforts and liked the flavor. But it was too spicy for her. She had to open another can of beans and put it in her chili to cool it down
I got up from eating dinner with sweat on my face and tears in my eyes. I knew that I had cooked a great meal!!!!!!

Jack's South America: World Cup 2014: Africans Spending Big Bucks In Bra...

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Iran 1953: US Envoy to Baghdad Suggested to Fleeing Shah He Not Acknowledge Foreign Role in Coup

Iran 1953: US Envoy to Baghdad Suggested to Fleeing Shah He Not Acknowledge Foreign Role in Coup:

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A Wild Day Of Watching Soccer

Yesterday was a wild day for soccer. Things started out good with Argentina defeating Switzerland at the last possible minute. In the afternoon I watched the USA play Belgium. The US lost but they put up one heroic and incredible fight. It is one of the best sports events that I have seen decades. Elena and I will have some great soccer games to watch on the 4th and the 5th of July as Brasil plays Colombia and Argentina plays Belgium.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Refusing To Pay For Birth Control Pills On Medical Insurance

There is a lot of controversy over the US Supreme Court ruling saying that private companies can decline to pay for birth control for women if they have religious problems with proving birth control for employees. I will not debate the merits of the ruling. I will tell you some very practical consideration that all of you ladies taking birth control pills know. They are very expensive! I have seen prices of up to $200 US per month. If one's health insurance does not cover such things it put an additional burden on the family.

Dog Licenses Are A Pain In The Ass

All of you who live in the UK and many British Commonwealth countries are familiar with something called a television license. One is required to buy a license each year for each television in your home or place of business. Do not laugh at this. If you do not buy the license, the local police will come out, seize your televisions and sell them at auction.
San Mateo County, California has something like this. It's called a dog license. It has the noble goal of insuring that each domestic animal has its proper vaccinations. This is supposed to protect us from rabies, etc.
In practice it's the biggest pain in the world. One has to collect a lot of papers and send them in. Mistakes are made all the time. I properly renewed the dog license of Copernicus. Yesterday in the mail I got this red notice telling me that I had not renewed the license. This morning while working I had to open up the safe and get out the dog license file. I had to make a copy of Copernicus's current dog license. I then had to mail it to Texas.This all took 30 minutes of work that I could have used better elsewhere.

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: French Bank BNP Paribas Pleads Guilty Criminal Conspiracy Charges, Fined Record $9 Billion; Anyone Headed to Prison?

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: French Bank BNP Paribas Pleads Guilty Criminal Conspiracy Charges, Fined Record $9 Billion; Anyone Headed to Prison?:

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