So Happy We Have Health care next month
“My main message today is, ‘We’re not going back,’ ” Obama said in an afternoon address at the White House. “That seems to be the only alternative that Obamacare’s critics have. “You’ve got good ideas? Bring ’em to me,” he said. “But we’re not repealing it as long as I’m president.”
I Am Malala, (aw inspiring)
Did you see Malala last month on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart? She spoke of learning the Taliban had targeted her for death. “I said, ‘If he comes, what would you do, Mala-la? Then I would reply to myself, ‘Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.’ ” The audience laughed softly, but she wasn’t done. “Then I said, ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others that much with cruelty and that much harshly. You must fight others, but through peace and through dialogue and through education.’”
Geez, It’s Good To Be Back Home
3 Weeks in South America (Peru), stories, pictures and movies to come.
THE OPPENHEIMER REPORT IN MY OPINION
Peru bets on pragmatism — and wins
ANDRES OPPENHEIMER AOPPENHEIMER@MIAMIHERALD.COM
LIMA — When I interviewed Peruvian President Ollanta Humala last week, he struck me as a less articulate leader than most of his South American colleagues —but one who may be doing a better job than his more loquacious counterparts.
Unlike the populist presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela, who spend much of their time making fiery speeches and promising utopian “revolutions,” Humala speaks softly and bets on continuity. Rather than changing everything, he says he wants to build on what he inherited from his most recent predecessors.
And the results are visible. While many populist-led South American countries are wrecking their economies and democratic institutions — often squandering their biggest commodity-driven economic booms in recent history — Peru continues to grow and to reduce poverty more rapidly than most of its neighbors.
This year, Peru’s economy is expected to grow by 5.4 percent, compared with a Latin American and Caribbean average of 2.7 percent, according to International Monetary Fund projections. More importantly, Peru economy has been growing steadily for the past 15 years.
Inflation is at 2.5 percent, compared with 25 percent in Argentina and 50 percent in Venezuela.
And poverty has been cut in half, from 53 percent of the population in 2000 to 26 percent in 2012, better than in most neighboring countries, according to government figures.
I asked Humala, a former radical army officer who was reportedly backed by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez when he first ran for office, what made him shift away from “revolutionary” experiments.
He responded that after winning his election, he realized that “you have to be guided by a dose of pragmatism because people can’t eat speeches.”
While avoiding any direct criticism of the presidents of Venezuela and other “Bolivarian” countries, he said that, at least in Peru’s case, trying to change everything did more harm than good.
To him, pragmatism means building on what he inherited. “We can’t afford governments that don’t take into account what has been done, and that try to start everything from the scratch,” he said.
Asked about Bolivian President Evo Morales’ recent claim that the Alliance of the Pacific bloc — the ambitious economic integration group made up of Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico — is a Washington-orchestrated “conspiracy” aimed at dividing Latin America, Humala smiled and said, “It’s nobody’s conspiracy.”
But did he complain to the Bolivian president about that statement, or did he at least call him to convince him to the contrary?
“No, because if I have learned anything is that you have to stress the positive, what unites us, and statements of that nature must be set aside in order to continue moving forward,” he said.
On whether he may try to change the constitution to allow his wife Nadine — who is more popular than Humala and many say is the power behind the throne — to run in 2016, he said: “No.” Pressed about it, he said, “It’s a categorical No.”
But when I asked him whether that’s also true for the subsequent election in 2021, he suggested that she may run.
“We will make that decision at a later date. She is the No. 2 of the ruling party and not just the president’s wife. She is a top leader of the party, and she and I will discuss that with party leaders and members,” he said.
My opinion: I spent too little time in Peru to make a serious judgment on Humala’s presidency, but it’s clear from the economic and social figures that Humala’s pragmatism is helping Peru keep growing and reducing poverty.
Granted, many criticize him for not standing firmly behind his decisions, and sometimes backing away from them. And many also blame him for not running a more efficient government.
But what really counts is that poverty has been cut in half over the past decade, millions of poor are joining the middle-class and that Peru’s progress is based on solid economic foundations. Earlier this month, the Fitch rating agency upgraded Peru’s credit rating, placing the country above Mexico and Brazil and only behind Chile in the region.
While “revolutionary” charlatans in Venezuela and other “Bolivarian” countries are scaring away domestic and foreign investments, Peru is welcoming them, and will thus be much better positioned to face the ongoing slowdown in world commodity prices.
At the end of the day, Peru’s quiet “evolution” is proving to be much more effective to reduce poverty than Venezuela’s noisy “revolution.”
US agrees, Make. Marijuana legal
From today’s Miami Herald.
Most in U.S. agree: Make weed legal
BY MATT PEARCE LOS ANGELES TIMES
Here is a short list of things that, according to Gallup, are less popular with Americans than the idea of legalizing pot: Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court. The president.
In a sweeping cultural shift, comparable perhaps to Americans’ quickening support of same-sex marriage, a majority of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday. The survey showed that 58 percent of 1,028 respondents supported legalization, with 39 percent against.
That’s a drop for the naysayers from just three years ago, when 50 percent of respondents opposed legalization — a number already riding a long plummet from a high of 73 percent in the 1990s.
Gallup credited much of the surge to political independents, whose support for legalization jumped from 50 percent to 62 percent in less than a year.
And what a year it has been for marijuana advocates: Last November, voters in Colorado and Washington easily passed ballot initiatives to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana.
Americans older than 65 remain the only age group that opposes marijuana legalization, with 53 percent against. Support grows stronger with each younger generation, with 18-to-29-year-olds supporting legalization 67 percent to 31 percent.
Hallelujah University of Miami is finally at end of Investigation
#Hallelujah it’s OVER! The #NCAA has FINALLY announced its penalties, 3 scholarship per year over 3 years. After self imposing 2 Bowls and an NCAA ACC Championship game and scholarships, while suspending players. All the while coach Al Golden his staff and the players here now, had nothing to do with any of what had transpired. The booster ripped off educated millionaires to the tune of almost a billion dollars, as well as gifting players at the U. Did they do wrong, yes. But paid a price and have done everything in its power to correct the situation. Now, we can move on and focus on this season and a possible national championship. We’ll see if they can pull a monumental upset at FSU in a couple of weeks. If so, look out. The U is back.
Buckle up, the showdown is just getting started
NOTE: The below is an article from a writer I read and she makes a lot of sense when you read her and listen to her. She’s well spoken and quite right most of the time. When do you think we’ll stop kicking the can down the road? Hope you enjoy her article as much as I. I post the whole article from the Miami Herald, because if I post links, you must be a subscriber to read.
Buckle up, the showdown is just getting started
BY JOY-ANN REID JOYANNREID@GMAIL.COM
Anyone who thinks the end of the government shutdown showdown spells relief for John Boehner or the country hasn’t been paying attention.
In fact, in the wake of a deal that produced, to quote the House speaker, total surrender by his party to a president who refused to pay ransom for keeping the government open and paying the nation’s bills, Boehner’s headaches are only likely to get bigger.
Matt Kibbe, head of FreedomWorks, the group most famous for its $8 million buyout of former Congressman Dick Armey (himself most famous for going to the Supreme Court to avoid having to give up his gold-plated government healthcare when he became eligible for Medicare), told The Washington Post’s Matea Gold as news broke Wednesday of a Senate deal that cut Boehner and the House out of the negotiating: “We don’t have regrets.”
No regrets about triggering 800,000 furloughs and many outright layoffs. No regrets about the peril visited on Head Start preschools and nutrition programs for pregnant women and kids; not to mention threatening to default on the nation’s debt, halt Social Security checks to seniors and, yes, keep our national parks shuttered (folks, when the government shuts down, it all shuts down.)
Kibbe went on to proclaim that the shutdown —and default threat — “was a very winnable fight, if the Republicans had been willing to fight.”
That sentiment — that elected Republicans need only “fight” in order for magical things to happen — has its mirror on the left, where entreaties to President Obama to “fight” a Republican Party determined to use every parliamentary procedure to grind his agenda to a halt in the Senate, and create total, unfettered chaos in the House, used to be common currency.
But there are big differences between the core left and the core right. One is that the left tends to react to political disappointment by withdrawing, as many did in the 2010 midterms that paved the way for the House to devolve into a gerrymandered freak show, and various red and purple states to resurrect early 20th century barriers to everything from voting to union organizing to aid to the poor.
The right, on the other hand, often reacts to political disappointment with what can only be described as all-out insurgency.
The right-wing fringe has, time and again, split off from its host and attacked the political body. The John Birch Society did it in the 1950s, Barry Goldwater in the 60s, Ross Perot in the 90s and the tea party today. Yes, Sen. Ted Kennedy “primaried” sitting President Jimmy Carter in 1980, but Kennedy didn’t lead a liberal movement to take the Democratic Party hostage, and the nation’s economy with it. The closest parallel on the left is Ralph Nader and the Green Party, which reached its diminutive but destructive peak in the 2000 presidential election.
Jim DeMint, the former South Carolina senator and true speaker of the House, given his veto power over what legislation is allowed to come to the floor, left elected politics to run the once august Heritage Foundation, which he has turned into a saw mill, specializing in carving the Grand Old Party apart.
DeMint’s creation, the Senate Conservatives Fund, fuels the Joe McCarthy-Sarah Palin hybrid Sen. Ted Cruz, who along with Heritage Action, the Club for Growth, and various Koch brothers-funded entities, exert an iron discipline over fellow Republicans, who don’t dare defy the 40 or so members of the tea party’s revolutionary guard in the House, for fear of being “primaried.”
Even before leaving the Senate, De-Mint refined the art of taking down Republican incumbents and preferred establishment candidates, in favor of true believers like Rand Paul, Cruz and his sidekick from Utah, Mike Lee. Some, like Richard Mourdoch in Indiana, Sharron Angle in Nevada, and Joe Miller in Alaska, proved disastrous.
But win or lose, DeMint’s strategy of targeting fellow Republicans first, and the staggering success of those candidates in attracting funding outside the traditional spheres of Republican influence like Wall Street and big business, from small donors and extremist, curmudgeonly billionaires who don’t wish to pay taxes or give their employees healthcare, worked.
Traditional Republicans are terrified of these guys, and fear a primary more than the consequences of a government default. And their increasingly isolated, disillusioned base doesn’t believe the business leaders who warn of the staggering consequences of default any more than they believe in climate change.
For them, it’s all lies and tricks, designed to pry them away from true conservatism.
So buckle your seatbelts, America (and you too, Mr. Boehner). The howling, enraged core of the Republican Party is even angrier now