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Morning Musings

  • “I’m a moral man,” Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY) says. That may be true, someone else will be the judged by many judges. The New York Congressman’s decision to step down from the Financial Services Committee, along with Grimm’s statement, reminded me of a well-known C.S. Lewis quote: “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.” You be the judge.
  • U.S.-Cuba I: On the U.S.-Cuba policy front there are two new, seemingly unrelated, proposals or initiatives to ease sanctions on the regime that are making the rounds in town. Before I share with you what they are, I’ll preface it, as usual, with a reminder that there are laws on the books that require Congressional action for easing the sanctions. Congress, by very deliberate design, also carved out a niche for itself in Cuba transition matters and greatly restricted what the President could do via his ‘phone and pen.’ What these groups are urging the President to do, in essence, is circumvent the Congress and, in some cases, break the law. Mostly led by Democrats, these folks see the fast-approaching November elections and are desperate for any crumb from the Obama Administration.
  • U.S.-Cuba II: The Council of the Americas‘ memorandum, released a few weeks ago, can be found here. The #CubaNow initiative, mostly a public relations outfit run by Democrats, thread is available here.
  • U.S.-Cuba III: Rather than cast doubt on the U.S. position (as these groups erroneously do), I feel strongly that the U.S. can, and should, be a great deal more aggressive in helping foster an entrepreneurial society in Cuba. However it can, and must, be done under the existing statutory and regulatory scheme without any easing of travel regulations or otherwise making it easier for the regime to secure money or credit. It also should be spearheaded by someone located somewhere other than USAID, who has a clear understanding of the many political and economic equities at play. You’re dealing with a troglodytic dictatorial communist government.  This is not a game. U.S. national interests, not domestic political concerns, need to drive these decisions.
  • Venezuela’s former intelligence chief allegedly shot to death in Caracas.
  • IBT: Intelligence Authorization Act Provision Demanding Disclosure Of Civilians Killed In US Drone Attacks In Other Countries Dropped By US Senators. Again, there is way too much information in the public domain on certain issues these days.
  • Pincus at the Washington Post writes: “Senate intelligence panel staff members as well as CIA officers and perhaps contractors could be potential subjects of a preliminary DOJ criminal inquiry into the handling of the so-called “Panetta Review,” a set of controversial classified documents that fell into the hands of Senate investigators working on the panel’s probe.” There may be plenty of blame to go around as to who did what; however, the turf war will continue, with the blame Bush-Cheney undertones an ongoing thread. To date, none of the key officers involved in the post-09.11.01 efforts have been consulted to learn what really happened. Why? Because certain Congressional overseers are more concerned with scoring political points than genuine oversight and collaboration.  The program appears to have worked well. It saved lives. And all the works against the bigger agenda, weakening these agencies. 
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