Sheriff Joe and the violation of constitutional rights of Hispanic residents

Sheriff  Joe Arpiao put himself above the law once too many times.    The liberties secured by “We, the People” do not exclude the Hispanic community of Maricopa County.   The courts concluded racial profiling was a violation of the Constitution and ordered Sheriff Joe to stop.  He refused  and was found in criminal contempt of the court orders.    The court based its decision of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution which reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Today, Presidential Trump pardoned Sheriff Arpaio.   I would like to say more, but the New York Times in today’s opinion section got it so right in the link below.

New York Times Opinion

Or you can do a Google search on “Just say no to Sheriff Joe, Mr. Trump”  NYT

Also see, The rap sheet against Sheriff Arpiao

He treated Hispanics terribly  and it was good he lost re-election.

Stay tuned,

Dave

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Qatar Export Problems and What’s Next

Qatar has enormous gas reserves.    Gas requires a market.  When the local market is limited,   producers often have to invest heavily to make their gas marketable worldwide.  Qatar, along with many other countries, have invested in conversion of their gas to liquified natural gas (LNG) for the purpose of export.  These liquification plants (usually called “trains”),, shipment ports and the carriers usually are require billions of dollars to construct.   There has to be ports constructed to safely  receive the LNG.   For safety purposes, the carriers’ offloading buoys are located a long distance from shore.   Qatar is the world’s largest LNG exporter.   This opens up the world to their gas.

Qatar has contracts with Japan to supply LNG.  The shipping is now more costly  and likey causing delivery delays because these tankers can not refuel in the Persian Gulf.  However, shipments will continue.  Japanese buyers of LNG are hoping to renegotiate the LNG delivery contracts on better terms, to take advantage of Qatar’s situation.

Qatar also supplies the UK.  There was concern last week when two tankers delivering Qatari gas turn around as they entered the Gulf of Aden, but later reports indicate the  Qatari tankers can pass through the Suez canal and supply Europe.

Oil export is a bit tricky.  The very large crude carriers (VLCC) carry nearly a billion barrels of oil.  They generally make multiple loading  (“liftings”) at ports of other  countries to fill their tanker.  However, the rules of the blockade prohibit this-  if a tanker  has a partial load from Qatar, it can not top off its load by lifting at a Saudi port.  Qatar is scrambling to find smaller tankers to lift their crude.

Food is being supplied by an emergency airlift from Turkey.   The US could be doing much more as we have an airbase in Qatar, but I suspect the 100 billion dollars in potential new contracts with the Saudi’s is keeping Trump from taking any action.  Doha is not Berlin.  The stock market in Qatar dropped around 10%, which does not include Qatargas, as it is not a publicly traded  company.   The credit rating of Qatar dropped a notch due to an S+P downgrade.

I have combed the internet, looking for possible ways each side could de-escalate the crisis.   I found nothing that was likely.  The most obvious way to keep the diplomatic/ economic crisis from turning into a humanitarian one, is to stop the deportations,  or at least push back the deadlines.   Qataris were given 2 weeks to leave Bahrain, UAE and Saudi Arabia.    I believe some measures are being done to ensure the families are not broken up.  Amnesty International has come out strongly against these deportation as it makes people on both sides of the conflict, the  real victims of the conflict.  I am certain the Arab countries are now sourcing the labor market, and will be bring in many laborers from Pakistan and the Philippines.   I have not confirmation on this- it’s really just my hunch.   Once deportation begin, it will be difficult to undo through negotiations.

The outsiders, including Russia, France and the US,  plus the non-aligned Arab countries of Kuwait and Oman, all want to help in negotiating a lifting of sanctions.  But, it remains confused at what would satisfy the main actors (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain) in this blockade.   Qatar is not about to “rein in”  Al Jazeera,  in essence, make it less effective a news network.   It is in daily competition with all other news outlets, and given the widespread use of satellite television,  their major competitors are the BBC, CNN and Euronews, at least for the English speaking world.  And they are doing very well. Qatar denies they have any connection with Hamas or any terrorist organizations.

This type of sanctions usually don’t work.  All they will accomplish is to cause hardships for Qatar and the companies and investors doing business with Qatar.   Those who financed Qatar’s rise in the world, were likely rich Persian Gulf investors, buying Qatari bonds, which would be “safe” investments.  They are likely taking a big hit.  The blockade can be lifted easily, but it seems things are at a stalemate.   On the other hand, there are opportunities to escalate the situation.   Qatar could cut the gas supplies to UAE through their pipeline, but this would likely backfire, and Qatar would be the bigger loser.   Other Arab countries would step up their gas supplies to the UAE and the Saudi blockage would gain more unity.   The Arab countries can through controlling the airspace,  effectively ground Qatar Air without much repercussions.  They seem to want to put Qatar Air out of business.   Stopping Qatari  LNG carriers passing through the Suez canal,  would violate international laws,  but  it is still a potential step.  Yemen controls the Gulf of Aden, so this would be the place to extract more economic harm to Qatar.

I have no idea of how this mess can end.    The most recent series of terrorist attacks, in the Philippines and Iran, suggest the Sunni based ISIS is still the number one instigator of secular violence in the world, not tied in anyway to Qatar.   Trump is still going nuts pushing his travel ban, but it is equally likely that the next outside terrorists to land on our shores (there has been very few of them) is equally likely to come from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, France, Belgium, UK or  the Philippines, rather than Libya, Sudan or Syria (countries named in the travel ban).     Actually,  the next terrorists to cause bloodshed in  the US, are more likely to  be US permanent residents or citizens, than agents from any other country.   It is all politics, and getting uglier by the day.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Week 1: Trump found in violation of Constitution

It’s all over the news, so I won’t go into the details.

The heroes are the attorneys for the ACLU.   So, I’m sending them a contribution right now.

ACLU

One Syrian women was reportedly about to be sent back to her home country when the ruling came down—and was promptly taken off the flight by Customs and Border Protection agents.

The stay is temporary.    There will be a court hearing to determine if the Executive Order is legal.   The Judge ordered the government to turn over all names of people facing deportation under the Order.

Will the Department comply with furnishing these documents?

GO ACLU!

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Obama Legacy – Economics, Part 1

Worst economic conditions since 1973.  Labor participation has never been this low.  Percent of home ownership now at a 10 year low.  Deficits are sky rocketing.  Thank God we got rid of Obama and his screwed up economic plan.

Ok- this is from Fox news,  Sean Hannity, right after Obama’s farewell address.  I’ve embellished on a bit.  This kind of bashing of the economy used to come from financial advisors with doomsday prediction, and then either “Buy my book … ” or “Call me now at 800- ….”  so you will be protected.   Now, it’s all about ratings.

When things are bleak for large companies, the stock market crashes.  The stock market crashed in 2008 at the end of Bush’s term as the banking/financial crisis got red hot.

djia

Now, the first big infusion of government money came during Bush’s term.  Conservative Republicans hated this, and stated it was like throwing gasoline on a fire.  But no recovery goes straight up. I count 9 dips in the Dow.

As the economy recovered,  unemployment dropped from 10% to 4.6%.

unemployment

 

And the housing market recovered as well beginning in late 2009.

housing

Unemployment and housing starts are two of the most closely watched barometers of the US economy.

Average home prices have also increased, and bank requirements for new loans are more difficult than in the period of 2000 to 2008.   This is why, the percentage of home ownership  declined  during Obama’s administration.    Also labor participation declined as baby boomers retired.  Increase enrollment in colleges may also be a factor.

Has the election of Trump made a difference in the economy?  Certainly, the stock market has rallied since November, but it is far too early to tell.

I haven’t mentions the US debt and other important aspects of the economy. To be continued.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

 

Don’t you worry ’bout a thing

Stevie Wonder,  released 1973.

I talked to someone about Trump, and he tells me we are in good hands.  He listens to Fox News and plays golf 3 times a week.   Not a bad life.

There are some real tough questioning coming up on Trump’s cabinet positions.   I guess the most troublesome is our future relations with China.  We can not have a trade war with China, and expect their help in stopping North Korea’s nuclear plans.

I would think there is nothing more urgent than a united front against North Korea.  Trump would be wise to remember that a majority of Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, whose campaign slogan was “stronger together.”

There was a great discussion on Fareed Zakaria show (GPS)  with James Baker, saying that what previous republican presidents (Reagan & HW Bush) have favored was free trade agreements, and Trump’s new cabinet tends more towards protectionism.   Baker said Trump as candidate, or now president-elect is not the same as when he actually moves into the White House with the staff making recommendations.

Baker may be right.  He’s not yet our president.  However, the more Trump goes after Mexico stealing our jobs  and their citizens pouring over the border, the more I worry that it’s the same old Trump,  always playing politics with an incoherent foreign policy strategy.

 

US and Russia

Putin wanted Trump over Clinton.  It should have been Clinton’s greatest non-endorsement.  Putin feels the breakup of the Soviet Union was a mistake, and some of the  Baltic states should be part of Russia.  Putin has expansionary ambitions.

Sanctioning Russia for the hacking efforts was a tough call for Obama.   It was an executive order, but this time Republicans did not fight him.   Trump has the authority to reverse these orders- and I think he will.    Trump’s response was weird at best, praising Putin for not responding in kind, with expulsion of US diplomats.

Trump is very used to project management.  In fact, he is a master at it.  His team will come up with a 100 day plan, mainly dealing with domestic issues, including the repatriation of overseas funds.   He has repeated attacked the NATO alliance and the UN.  Now, he will need these organizations more than ever,  and a lot of diplomacy to curb the ambitious Putin.

With the transition underway, and resistance from Democrats on every level,  I believe this will be the opportune time for Putin to make his move.  I’m not certain where, but the western side of the Ukraine or one of the Baltic states would be obvious targets.

The Trump test is coming.  I wish he makes the right decisions as what happens in Europe affects everyone.  Lesson to Trump – globalization is not a choice, it is a reality.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s ahead in the election?

Hillary Clinton, as of Aug 5, has about an 80% change of winning this election.   This is strictly based state polls, and who will win the most electoral votes.   To figure out who will win, you have to follow the toss up states.   In fact, there are just 3 solid ones left- Florida, Ohio and North Carolina.

So what is toss up status?    It is generally when either Clinton or Trump have less than 65% and more than 35% chance of winning.  It is generally when the outcome of statewide polls show the difference in the candidates is less than the margin of error.  If several statewide polls show conflicting results,  it is a toss up.

Florida, Ohio and North Carolina have shown slim differences in polls, and conflicting results- so they are solid toss ups.   Some like the New York Times, believe Georgia is in the toss up camp.   Others think Georgia could lean Republican.  Arizona is considered toss up by some, or lean Republican.   Right now,  Nevada,  New Hampshire, Virginia, Colorado, Wisconsin and Iowa are generally considered to lean Democratic.  Clinton could win the presidency without winning either the popular vote or the most states.

My guess is Hillary Clinton will surpass the 270 electoral votes needed by 50 to 70 electoral votes.  I’m going to run a few simulations on this, and I’ll come up with the most accurate (or at least the most precise) number possible.

Frequently wrong but never in doubt.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

Election Predictions

The best way to figure who will win, is to keep a close eye on state-wide polls of the swing states.  Since the beginning of this current madness,  there have been hundreds of polls, most of which at this point,  only confirm what we already know.    New York votes Democrat. Similarly,  Texas votes Republican.   These are the solid blue and red states.

National polls show the candidates to be close.  Trump is likely to win more states than Hillary.  But,  winning the most states doesn’t win the election.

The only way any candidate can win an election, is to win some of the swing states.  Hillary Clinton is in Florida right now.   Donald Trump, of course, is getting ready to make a grand entrance in Cleveland, OH.   These are the two really key swing states.   The other really big one is North Carolina.

So,  while a ton of predictions are being churned out,   few understand the prediction process.  Each state is assigned a probability that the Republican or Democrat will win in November.  Texas, for example has a 99% chance of going to Trump.   The reason for this is simple.  All the polls show Trump beating either Sanders or Clinton.  Similarly, Trump has nearly no chance to win New York. This leaves about 10 to 13 swing states, with probabilities much closer to toss up status (50%).   North Carolina is closer to a solid “anyone’s guess” or 50% than any other state.

Overall, using  probabilities by state, Clinton has a 70-75% chance of winning.  It is noted that the effect of third party candidates has not been taken into account in most polls.

These predictions are remarkably close to the odds given by the bookies from across the pond.

New York Times – Who will be the next president?

The predictions change as poll numbers change.    Each candidate will focus on states where they are lagging.  If more states move closer to the 50% probability value, the net result may be a decrease in election predictability.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

Veepstakes

Trump will pick Jeff Sessions.  It’s a close call.   The bookies are divided between Sessions and Gingrich with lower odds on Christie and Kasich.   Bob Corker  has recently been added to the short list by CNN,  although the bookies have him ranked lower than the rest.

You can argue until the cows come home who Trump should nominate.  I originally said he would pick Joni Ernst,  but she’s out based on her recent comments.   Trump will win most southern states, so Corker and Sessions don’t bring much to the ticket.

Stay tuned,

Dave