Category Archives: Politics

05Dec/16
opec-oil-production-cuts

OPEC Agrees to 4.5% Oil Production Cuts

With all eyes on OPEC in anticipation of oil production cuts, the fractured group has finally reached an agreement to cut oil production by about 4.5% off current production levels. That translates to about 1.2 million barrels per day.

The cuts were needed because of the uneasy economical environment that has been plaguing the oil producing countries since the U.S. lifted sanctions on Iran. Despite the signing of the agreement, it will be up to Saudi Arabia’s official to be diligent about policing other cartel members that in the past have been quick to look for ways to circumvent these types of agreements. The ultimate goal is to get oil prices stabilized within a range that allows OPEC members to improve economically while keeping non-OPEC members from increasing output productions levels, trying to capitalize on higher oil prices.

The immediate reaction from commodity traders and analysts has largely been positive. While recent oil prices have been moving between $40 to $55 a barrel, this agreement is expected to stabilize prices above the $50 benchmark into the foreseeable future.

Around the world, regional oil producers, especially in the U.S., are expected to start ramping up exploration and drilling efforts if oil settles above $50 a barrel. For high-cost oil producers, a target amount of $55 to $60 a barrel is where the market would need to go before they would be able to jump into the fray.

These cuts would appear to be temporary by nature due in large part to exemptions given to Libya and Nigeria, allowing them to increase production in order to offset issues related to significant supply outages caused by internal conflicts. Iran has agreed to freeze at current production levels, another concession granted as the country continues to stabilize its economy in the aftermath of the release of U.S. sanctions.

28Nov/16
election-results-jill-stein

Are the Election Results in the U.S. Resolved?

As contested and ugly as the campaign season was in the recent presidential election in the U.S., it appears that the ugliness has continued in the aftermath of President-elect Donald Trump’s stunning win over Democrat Hilary Clinton. It would seem that many of Clinton’s most adamant supporters are simply unwilling to accept the loss and are willing to invest a significant amount of time and money to try to get the results reversed.

The cause is being led by Green Candidate Jill Stein, who is now working in cooperation with the Clinton campaign to get a vote recount in key states like Wisconsin and Michigan. Keeping in mind that Stein received less than 1% of the overall vote, she appears to be relying on information provided by computer programmers, who claim there were issues related to voter patterns in those states that might indicate manipulation.

In the past couple of days, a formal request for a vote recount has been received in Wisconsin. The request has been approved and the recount has been scheduled to begin next week. In the meantime, president Barack Obama has expressed his concerns about whether or not it is wise to call into question the U.S.’ election process.

For his part, Trump has a few concerns of his own. After spending much time prior to the election showing concern over whether the election process had been rigged, he is now touting the idea that “millions” of illegal votes had been cast in the election. There could be a basis for some concern, recognizing the fact states like California will allow illegal immigrants to get a drivers licensed, which could be used to register and actually vote.

With so many allegations being tossed about, it would appear the election still has a ways to go before final ratification. Until that time, the plot will continue to thicken.

14Nov/16
us-immigration-battle-lines-drawn

US Immigration Battle Lines are Being Drawn

With the surprising results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election in the books, the reality has set in among illegal immigrants that their days of running free in the country may be limited.

On one side of the issue sits President-elect, Republican Donald Trump, who made campaign promises to build a wall along the U.S./Mexico border. He also promised to attempt to unravel the controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives protection to adults who were illegally brought into the country as children.

On the other side sits the state of California with its far-left liberal legislature that has made it possible for illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses, health coverage for children and in-state tuition. Combined with sanctuary cities like San Francisco, the whole state has done everything it can to protect illegals, even those that have been or are currently suspected of committing crimes.

In the days following election, thousands of protestors throughout the country took to the streets to protest a Trump presidency. In California, many more thousands of protestors blocked freeways in Oakland and Los Angeles, hoping to drive home the point they didn’t intend to follow the policies that might be set forth by the Trump administration.

To date, Trump, nor anyone else from his transition team, has made any clear indications about what the GOP has in mind as a new immigration policy. Based on comments made by Kris Kobach, a member of Trump’s immigration policy transition team, the options on the table include mass deportations and a slowing down of the processing of visas for the citizens of Mexico who are looking to come into the country legally.

Based on other campaign promises made by new California U.S. Senator-elect Kamala Harris, there will be fight for the rights of illegal immigrants. As the country moves closer to inauguration day, the lines are being drawn in the sand and an immigration war seems imminent.

07Nov/16
fox-news-indictment-clinton-foundation

The Politics of Innuendo

When news broke from Fox News that an indictment related to Clinton Foundation was imminent, Republicans were falling all over themselves to make sure they had the opportunity to put fuel on the fire. Unfortunately, the usually reliable Fox News Anchor Brett Baier might have spoken out of school.

Based on information derived from a couple of anonymous sources with close connections to the FBI, Baier told viewers that an indictment was “likely.” It didn’t take long for other news organizations to rebutt his claim, which ended up being unfounded. He would later come on the air to admit he had made a mistake. He went on to say that he meant to indicate the investigation into the foundation was still ongoing.

His report came of the heels of other claims being leaked from anonymous sources within the FBI. Earlier in the week, information came out that the FBI and DOJ were at odds over the DOJ’s unwillingness to convene a grand jury. There were also stories bandied about that as many as 100 FBI agents were prepared to offer their resignation over the decision.

With all innuendo that’s being put out in the news just a few days short of the election, both Democrats and Republicans are getting a little edgy. As stated by Fox News’ liberal voice Juan Williams, “This is so much scurrilous rumor, innuendo. I don’t think it’s fair to anyone. We would never do that to Trump. If it was done by the liberal media, you would call it out. So let’s just stop it.”

While the Democrats, led by U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, were calling for an investigation into these leaks, the Republicans were busy trumpeting the information. It should be noted that Cummings is the Representative that almost fell out of his chair with joy when FBI Director James Comey stated he didn’t think there was enough to indict Hilary Clinton on anything.

03Nov/16
james-comey-fbi-political-firestorm

FBI Head James Comey Creates Political Firestorm

With the announcement he has decided to reopen the investigation into the use of a private server by Democrat Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, FBI head James Comey has thrown himself into the middle of a political firestorm. The announcement comes but a few months after he declined to recommend the prosecution of Clinton because he felt no reasonable prosecutor would pursue charges.

At the time, Republicans were infuriated that he would come to the conclusion prosecution would be a waste of time after he admitted Clinton and her staff were “extremely careless” with the way they handled classified information. He also declined to initiate an investigation into the Clinton Foundation, even though there were signs of possible “pay for play” activities.

In recent weeks, the FBI has been investigating former Congressman Anthony Weiner related to concerns he was sexting a minor. During the investigation, the FBI seized the computers and mobile devices belonging to Weiner and his estranged wife Huma Abedin. It just so happens that Abedin is one of Clinton’s top aides and confidant. Without going into detail, Comey wrote a letter to key members of Congress about the fact he was reopening the investigation.

With this announcement, the Republicans have been elated and hopeful that justice may still rule the day regarding Clinton’s alleged dubious activities. On the other side of the isle, Clinton and the Democrat party are infuriated he would make such a decision public less than two weeks before the election. According to news reports, he even consulted with Attorney General Loretta Lynch about his decision, only to be warned he could be perceived as trying to influence the outcome of the election.

Regardless of his motivations, it seems clear that Comey and his people have seen something that would move them to place themselves in the middle of the election process. In time, the information will be released to the public. For now, there’s a lot of innuendo and doubt surrounding the entire election process here in 2016.

25Oct/16
philippines-duterte

What’s Up With The Philippines?

Prior to May’s election in the Philippines, the international community was choosing sides in the South China Sea conflict between Beijing on one side and The Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam on the other side. As staunch supporters of The Philippines, the United States, Australia and Great Britain had chimed in with their concerns.

It would seem that everything has changed on a dime. Keeping in mind that a tribunal at the Hague had already ruled that China was in violation of international law based on the claims it was making in the South China Sea region, it now appears The Philippines is ready to let Beijing off the hook. This is indicated by the Filipinos desire to partner up with the Chinese on a series of infrastructure deals designed to benefit the Filipino economy.

Newly elected Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is a self-professed communists. During the election cycle, he had strong words for the Chinese government, stating he would go so far as to ride a jet-ski into the China South Sea region and plant a flag where the Philippines was ruled to have legitimate claims. A little more than 100 days later, he has been on a junket to China that has landed in excess of $17 billion in loans and investment from the Chinese into The Philippines.

In conjunction with this newfound “partnership,” Duterte has also been bantering around anti-American rhetoric. For the past 70 years, there has been a strong military and economic alliance between the U.S. and the Filipinos. Apparently, Duterte has never been a big fan of what he claims is America’s mistreatment of his nation. Adding to his already negative attitude towards the U.S. was his anger over criticism leveled towards Duterte’s controversial “war on drugs” by U.S. President Barack Obama. In fact, things got a little personal when Duterte called Obama “the son of a whore” in his native tongue.

In the past few days, Duterte has tried to dial back the anti-American rhetoric and re-normalize relations between the two countries. It will be interesting to see how long that is going to last as Duterte now seeks to partner with Russia.

18Oct/16
wikileaks-waves-ahead-election

Wikileaks Making Waves Ahead of Election

With a little more than three weeks until the election, the Wikileaks organization has been sending out regular doses of hacked DNC emails related to Democrat Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, and they aren’t painting a favorable picture of Clinton or the DNC.

While GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump has been battling attacks on his character elated to his treatment of women, Clinton had opened up a bit of a lead in the polls. With that said, Wikileaks has begun delivery blow after blow to her campaign. The latest groups of emails from the DNC hacked server involve communications between John Podesta, Clinton Campaign Chairman, and key Clinton aides, including Attorney Cheryl Mills.

In one March 2015 communication between Podesta and Mills, Podesta questioned whether or not they should withhold emails between Clinton and President Barack Obama. The email was sent exactly one day after the House Benghazi Committee asked Mrs. Clinton to preserve all the emails on her private server. There were also discussions about how to frame or spin the breaking news that 15 previously deleted emails from Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal had been turned over to the FBI.

In another embarrassing exchange, a damaging string of emails between Podesta and Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri discussed the importance of keeping Clinton’s “back-room” deals hidden from the public. This same topic was discussed in leaked information related to Clinton speeches with Wall Street.

With all of this as well as other emails that seemed to criticize or mock the NAACP, Latinos and Christians, the Clinton campaign finds in constant damage-control mode as they address one issue after the other. The net effect has been a noticeable decrease in Clinton’s lead in the polls. The race is on to see which happens first: the mainstream media finds more dirt on Trump or Wikileaks releases emails that deliver a fatal blow to the Clinton campaign.

10Oct/16
audio-recording-donald-trump

11-Year Old Audio Recording Rocks Trump Campaign

With one candidate mired in one scandal after another and the other candidate dealing with a history of boorish behavior, the U.S. is involved in a nasty election cycle, the likes of which has never been seen before. In the latest news, an 11-year old audio segment of GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump making lewd and chauvinistic statements about women has surfaced.

After details of his comments, which are too lewd to be reported here, were released, the backlash was swift and brutal. It has resulted in a number of key individuals, both GOP members and supporters denouncing the things he said with many of them going so far as to pull their support for his campaign.

In a effort to get out in front the situation and do damage control, Trump took to the airways to apologize for what he said. He even went so far as to try to let people know that is not who he is a person today.

Over Twitter, he released a video to all Americans. In the video, he said, “I’ve never said that I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things that I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them.” He later added, “Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am,” he continues. “I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”

Because of his comments, the RNC is trying to find away to intervene and withdrawal their support for Trump as the party’s Presidential candidate. While Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chair, looks into the parties options, party leaders are calling on Trump to make apologies across the board and consider withdrawing from the race.