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Morning Musings

  • Congress adjourned for a long August recess. Critics argue they’ve done nothing. The President berates them. But that, my friends, is a very good thing. The longer they’re in town these days, the more they tend to muck things up.
  • While the U.S. and the E.U. try to figure out what to do about Russian adventurism on Europe’s eastern border, Russian oligarchs are planning ahead for what promises to be a long and dragged process for energy supremacy and political control in that region of the world.
  • Bolivia, a nation where about 60% of the population lives at or below the poverty line, announced economic sanctions yesterday against Israel. Bolivia’s Leftist ruler, Evo Morales, also called Israel a ‘terrorist state‘ and promised to make it harder for Israeli’s to visit the country. Salvador, Chile, Peru, and Brazil have recalled their Ambassadors to Israel. One would think that these powers would know better, especially after the 1992 Israeli Embassy bombing and the 1994 AMIA attack in Argentina. Then again, its Latin America. The Left’s playground.
  • All you need to know about the upcoming release of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation report is that Members of Congress – House and Senate – knew of the program, approved the program, and, it worked. The rest is mostly a political (inside the beltway) sideshow. The release of the report, political voyeurism, and of absolutely no oversight value whatsoever. That’s not to excuse unlawful or unauthorized behavior by CIA personnel or Senate staff; but that is an issue that will need to be dealt with as soon as all facts are known about who did what and when. As a wise and very senior Member of Congress once told me, “manage the staff or the staff will manage you.”
  • Our Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Power said this week that North Korean and Cuban attempts to smuggle weapons and spare parts was “a cynical, outrageous and illegal attempt by Cuba and North Korea to circumvent United Nations sanctions.” But that very same day, the Obama Administration sanctioned a few North Koreans, and no Cubans, even though they know specific persons in Cuba involved in the caper. No surprise here. The political trends show that by the end of the year, the Obama Administration will announce a significant easing of U.S. sanctions toward Cuba. At first, it may not seem as much but it may just unravel the entire policy structure in place today, including the sanctions. 
  • For years we’ve thought, and some of us tried, to convince U.S. lawmakers that economic sanctions on Venezuela were long overdue. And it appeared that a limited sanctions bill would pass the Senate this week until, at last-minute, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) put a hold on the bill. Her issue? Supposedly some CiTGO gas refineries in her state would be impacted; however, unlike earlier sanctions proposals, this latest bill had nothing to do with oil. I think it is the same crowd in South Florida, a small circle of Venezuela ex-pats, who have been opposing sanctions on the regime for many years. Venezuela has gone the way of Cuba. There is no turning back, at least not for now and especially not with an ex-pat community that does things that help perpetuate the Maduro regime. Travel bans on Venezuelan officials will not do a thing; it’s just politics as usual.
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