Category Archives: Politics

21Jun/17
civil war republicans democrats

Is a Civil War Coming to the US?

After the last weeks shooting of GOP Congressional members, there’s an air of urgency rising on the streets of America. Much of the prior politically motivated violence had been isolated to rallies and protests, but now things are becoming personal.

While preparing for the annual baseball game between Republicans and Democrats, shots rang out, striking six different individuals. Among those who sustained injuries were GOP Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Congressional staffer Zack Barth (works for Rep. Roger Williams of Texas) and GOP Representative Roger Williams of Texas. All of the victims are expected to survive.

The only fatality was the shooter, one James Hodgkinson, who died after the shootout at the hands of law enforcement. Prior to the shooting, witnesses stated that Hodgkinson was very agitated and spouting out angry opposition to GOP policies.

This is not the first time violence has been perpetrated against members or supporters of the Republican party. Throughout the election cycle in October of last year, there were many occasions when President Donald Trump supporters were confronted going in and out of political venues. Notable attacks were reported in San Jose, California in June of last year and in areas of Berkeley.

It was October of 2016 that the firebombing of Republican Party headquarters in Orange County was reported, promting North Carolina. Gov. Pat McCrory to comment that the attack was a pure “attack on our democracy.”

While differing sides have certainly had their issues throughout the years, it’s hard to recall when such a level of violence was used to deliver a message. As the popularity of President Trump continues to wane and violence continues between supporters of differing ideologies, one can only be concern that things will soon hit critical mass. For now, the recent shooting only served to bring all Congressional leaders together, at least for the time being.

05Jun/17
london tragedy trump travel ban support

As London Deals With Tragedy, Trump Takes to Twitter for Travel Ban Support

Being a leader that never misses an opportunity to take advantage of a tragedy, United States President Donald Trump used the recent terrorist act in London, England to create support for his now defunct travel band.

While some of the details may still be unclear, it appears that a series of knife and track attacks may be related to recent terrorist activities in Europe. As Trump continues to pursue support for a travel ban he has been trying to get through the court systems, he is again calling for passage of temporary laws that would prohibit immigration from as many as six different Muslims countries.

The tweet from President Trump came at 7 p.m. Eastern Time this past Friday: “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” The tweet hit Twitter while the details of event were still being sorted out.

The dispute over the proposed travel ban relates to an assumption being made based on some of President Trump past rhetoric. While the President has the power to implement some emergency laws aimed at protecting the country, the courts have determined he has submitted the travel ban order based on religious affiliations, which violates certain rights listed in the Constitution of the United States.

As seven innocent dead victims and three suspects were being pulled from the carnage related to a van being driven into a large group of pedestrians, followed by series of fatal stabbings, Trump immediately assumed it was the work of terrorists and went to work on his message.

The above incident also resulted in another 48 people being injured. The final body count could have been much higher had London police not arrive quickly on the scene to shoot and kill the suspects.

22May/17
North Korea missile May 20 2017

North Korea Continues Missile Launches

As tensions continue building over North Korea’s build up in nuclear arms project, another missile launch as confirmed on May 20 by representatives from South Korea. The statement issued by the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff read as followed:

“North Korea launched an unidentifiable projectile to the East Sea from Bukchang area in South Pyongyang Province at 16:49 today.” (The East Sea is also referred to as the Sea of Japan.) The South Korean statement later added, “The projectile flew 500 km [310 miles] and ROK and U.S. are now analyzing its details [sic]. ROK military is closely monitoring North Korean provocative trends and maintaining highest military readiness.”

After the South Korean statement, Commander David Benham, a U.S. Pacific Command spokesman, issued the following statement on behalf of the White House: “U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 09:59 p.m. Hawaii time May 20. The launch of a medium range ballistic missile occurred near Pukchang. The missile was tracked until it landed in the Sea of Japan. We are working with our Interagency partners on a more detailed assessment. We continue to monitor North Korea’s actions closely. U.S. Pacific Command stands behind our ironclad commitment to the security of our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) assessed that the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.”

While North Korean leader Kim Jong-un continues to taunt the US and neighboring South Korea, the international community continues to levy sanctions on Jong-un and his people. While the sanctions are creating issues, nothing seems to be deterring North Korea from further missile launches. To date, this is the 7th recorded missile launch in 2017. As long as Jong-un acts with defiance, there seems to be little chance of mediation.

16May/17
laptop ban us homeland security

US Homeland Security Looking at Wider Laptop Ban

With terrorists threats increasing throughout the air travel industry, The United States Department of Homeland Security is looking at a total ban on in-cabin computers (tablets, laptops) on designated flights. The proposed flights affected originate from 10 countries from within Europe and Africa. The ban would require all computing devices to be checked through as luggage.

If this policy is put in place, frequent travelers are going to face a major change in the way they travel. Not only will they have to endure long flights without any form of distraction, sans the airline’s movie list, but they run the risk of having their devices damaged or stolen by baggage handlers. Flight insurance would most likely cover the cost of such an incident, but who wants to get off a flight and have to head to the nearest mall for a new computer? Never mind that important data could be lost.

While the ban would only affect airlines originating in those 10 countries into the US, the likelihood the ban would eventually be expanded to include other countries would increase. There’s even a possibility Homeland Security could impose the ban on domestic flights should even one threat be exposed.

When contacted for a comment, several major US airlines (United Airlines (UAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) nor American Airlines (AAL)) could not be reached. In anticipation of this type of ban throughout the world, several proactive airlines are allowing travelers to gate-check their devices, lowering the risk of theft and damage. There’s even a possibility the items could be stored in the cabin under lock n’ key with the airline staff. Among these airlines, which include Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, efforts are being made to offer loaner laptops, which would be controlled as the airlines property.

Stay tuned for more information on this proposed ban.

08May/17
macron victory france presidential election

Macron Claims Victory in France’s Presidential Election

With France facing significant issues related to unemployment and immigration from Muslim countries, the country’s citizens went to the polls in round two of the presidential election. As the dust cleared, Emmanuel Macron was the decided victor. The announcement came after the polls closed on a bitter fight between Macron and the far right candidate Marine Le Pen.

After Donald Trump’s victory in the US and Brexit’s victory in the United Kingdom, there were great concerns among populist leaning political figures that the tide had turned and a nationalist movement was sweeping the world. As a self-described centrist, Macron was able to strike a major victory among politicians who still favor liberal causes like open immigration policies.

Macron is a successful 39-year old businessman who decided to start his own centrist party and a run towards the presidency only a year ago. His victory serves as another clear message that tradition political concerns across the globe are under great pressure from people who want to see significant changes in the way their countries are being run.

While he never made a formal declaration of support, US President Trump was known to have been supportive of Le Pen’s tough stand against the continued immigration policies that have been creating significant problems between France’s borders. In an official statement out of the White House on behalf of the President, “We congratulate President-elect Macron and the people of France on their successful presidential election. We look forward to working with the new President and continuing our close cooperation with the French government.”

For now, liberal factions can breath a sigh of relief. In support of Macron, former US President Barack Obama just last week issued a video in support of the new French leader. In the video, he made clear the importance of the election by saying “Because the success of France matters to the entire world.”

24Apr/17
US rig count pressure oil prices

U.S. Rig Count Puts Pressure on Oil Prices

By mid 2015, oil prices had climbed as high as approximately $105 a barrel. In just a matter of months, the price took a nosedive, hitting as low as the mid $20 range by mid-2016. Due in large part to that drastic drop, oil companies in the U.S. reacted by shutting down oil and natural gas rigs in record numbers. By June of 2016, the number of operational oil rigs had gone from a record of 1,600 (late April 2015) to just above 350.

The volatility of oil and natural gas prices is well documented. For a number of reasons, the world had a front row seat to watch the wildest pricing ride in history. In the process of the drop, oil and gas companies had enormous write-offs as they recorded record losses that amounted to hundreds of billions worldwide. Fortunately, prices found stable ground by the end of 2016.

Today, oil prices seemed to have stabilized at around $50.00 a barrel. With oil prices poised to inch higher, U.S. oil and natural gas concerns are in the mood to reopen oil and natural gas rigs. Over the past 14 weeks, the number of oil rigs has increased by more than 200 to a current level of 688. Likewise, gas rigs have increased to 167.

With the addition of so much more oil activity in the U.S., the price of oil seems to be destabilizing. As of April 22, 2017, the price sat at $49.32 per barrel with continuing downward pressure throughout the world.

From this point forward, it becomes a real balancing act as U.S. firms attempt to create more supply without adversely affecting the market. With the threat of war on so many fronts, the global economic system is already jittery. It won’t take much to topple all the recent gains in oil prices, which is something the wold can ill-afford at this point in time.a

29Mar/17
Apple Disney rumblings

Apple / Disney Rumblings

Apple has created a war chest that is second to none. With over $200 billion in cash invested all over the planet, Wall Street has often made comments about what the company is going to eventually do with all this money.

In recent months, Wall Street rumblings have sent Disney’s stock up over 7.75%. Some of this increase could be due to rumors that Apple could be on the verge of buying the Entertainment giant for a large chunk of the company’s cash reserves. This isn’t a rumor that has been mentioned once or twice. In fact, this is a rumor that keeps popping up and peaking the interest of investors.

On the surface, one would have to wonder what these two mega giants have in common. The answer is content. They are both huge brand names that have derived a great deal of its success from the company’s content. While Apple sells the latest in technology, Disney uses this technology to provide the latest and greatest in entertainment.

When asked what he thinks of these rumors from Disney’s perspective, RBC analyst Steven Cahall had this to say: “Bulls think it portends well for a swan song exit via a sale to a giant like AAPL.”

The one part of a possible deal that doesn’t seem to fit is Disney’s ownership in the all-sports ESPN network. While both Apple and Disney are huge players in the international arena, ESPN is very much a U.S. domestic interest. To make this deal more fascinating, there are analysts who believe it would be in both company’s best interest to sell off the Broadcast Network as part of a mega-deal.

For now, all of this would seem to be nothing more than rumor and conjecture. With that being said, all eyes figure to be on both companies over the next few months.

15Mar/17
Trump new government

Old Government Versus New Government?

Since his election as President of the United States, Donald Trump has been under siege on a number of fronts. The anger directed towards his shocking victory over Hilary Clinton has come from Democrats, the left-leaning media and in some cases, his own party.

In recent weeks, there has been a growing concern that former President Barak Obama’s loyalist are creating issues from right inside the White House. These are individuals who hold major positions given while within Obama’s administration, and who have yet to be replaced by the new administration.

While all of the claims are alleged at this point, there does seem to be some credence to the notion that insiders might be trying to disrupt President Trump’s attempt to undo some of the laws and policies put in place by his predecessor. There has been enough information leaked from within the White House to warrant scrutiny. This past week, even President Trump went so far as to suggest that Obama resorted to ordering wiretaps to keep and eye on Trump’s election.

Whether or not any of these alleged actions have merit, it’s enough of a concern that the country is even discussing these things less than two month’s after Trump has taken office. In his inner circle, they are using the term “deep state” to refer to rogue individuals who still occupy government positions while being loyal to the cause of their former boss.

In a press conference this past weekend, press secretary Sean Spicer stated, “Well, I think that there’s no question when you have eight years of one party in office that there are people who stay in government … and continue to espouse the agenda of the previous administration. So, I don’t think it should come as any surprise that there are people that burrowed into government during eight years of the last administration and, you know, may have believed in that agenda and want to continue to seek it. I don’t think that should come as a surprise to anyone.”

This overriding feeling within President Trump’s administration might be related to a rash of firing this past week. It might be an attempt to clean the bugs out of the White House.